Stephens County voters to cast ballots today

Today is the General Election, and Duncan citizens are making their choice for various government positions.

The ballot contains 14 races and 10 court justice questions. Among the offices up for vote are for Oklahoma governor and the Oklahoma state superintendent of public instruction.

Voting precincts opened at 7 a.m. today and will remain open until 7 p.m.

“Exercise my right as a US citizen and to support schools,” Duncan Middle School teacher Sonia Norton said. “I also vote because I want to make sure schools are being taken care of and represented.”

N0rton, who is the president of the Association of Duncan Educators, teaches self-contained special education at DMS. Norton said she thinks it’s important to vote, especially since elections can have a direct impact on public education.

Derrick Miller, DMS journalism teacher, is the Duncan Legislative Team chair for the school district. Miller said voting can make a sizeable impact on the state and public education, but he thinks it’s important that people make informed decisions when it comes to casting their ballots.

Oklahoma is one of six states to offer straight-party voting, which is when a voter votes for all candidates of a specific party in partisan races.

Miller said two races being focused on in this election cycle are state offices, governor and state superintendent of public instruction. Both offices deal directly with things affecting public education. The governor appoints members of the school board, while the state superintendent, as the head of the Oklahoma State Department of Education, has to work with the school board.

Running for governor are Democrat Joy Hofmeister, Republican incumbent Kevin Stitt, Libertarian Natalie Bruno and Independent Ervin Stone Yen. Hofmeister is the outgoing state superintendent, who has reached her term limit. Stitt is seeking election for a second term.

Democrat Jena Nelson and Republican Ryan Walters are vying for the state superintendent office. Nelson was the 2020 Oklahoma teacher of the year and has continued her employment as a teacher during her campaign, only recently taking a leave of absence. Walters is the education secretary for the state.