State, OG&E Report Power Outages Won't Affect Election
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Date: November 2, 2020
Officials today reminded Oklahomans that ongoing power outages from last week’s ice storm will not affect Tuesday’s election thanks to a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (ODEMHS), the State Election Board, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, OG&E and numerous impacted electric cooperatives.
On Thursday, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security asked OG&E and other power providers to prioritize power restoration to polling sites as part of their response to critical infrastructure. Since that time, power has been restored to the majority polling stations across the state.
OG&E Director of Corporate Affairs Brian Alford stated:
“According to our most recent data, power has been restored to the vast majority of the polling places within our service area – more than 97 percent of the approximately 800 stations. Crews are continuing to work, and we are targeting to have the remaining polling stations restored before tomorrow – election day. We are also working with ODEMHS to obtain portable generators as a contingency to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. We continue to coordinate with ODEMHS and Election Boards at the county and state levels to make sure polling stations have power for Tuesday’s election. We join the Governor, Election Boards and ODEMHS in encouraging all Oklahomans to exercise their right to vote tomorrow. We specifically thank the more than 3,600 line crew members engaged in the ongoing power restoration effort.”
Governor Kevin Stitt praised electric workers and stressed the importance of making sure safe voting sites are available on Election Day.
“It’s very important to me that all Oklahomans are able to vote safely and securely at their polling locations on Election Day. I am proud of the teams at the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the State Election Board, OG&E and our local co-ops who have stepped up and worked together to make this possible despite very challenging circumstances,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “I continue to be grateful for our electric companies and their workers who are carrying out the Oklahoma Standard and working long hours to help their fellow Oklahomans.”
“Events like last week’s ice storm require coordination from all levels of government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector,” said ODEMHS Director Mark Gower. “Fortunately, Oklahoma has a number of dedicated partners including OG&E, PSO, dozens of electric cooperatives, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and the State Election Board that were able to work together to accomplish this task.”
The State Election Board noted that even if a loss of power were to occur on Election Day, voters would still be able to cast their votes due to the state’s paper ballot system.
“Oklahomans will still be able to vote at their polling place even if the location doesn’t have power, because Oklahoma uses paper ballots,” explained Paul Ziriax, Secretary of the State Election Board. “All ballot boxes have “emergency bins” where ballots can be deposited in the event of a power outage or technical issue. Ballots can then be counted by the ballot scanner once the power is back on or counted at the County Election Board later that evening.”