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January 12, 2014

Since 1960, Dems have held edge

DUNCAN — Oklahoma in 1960 required its citizens to either declare their party preference or register as independents.

Since then, registered Democrats always have outnumbered registered Republicans.

In 1960, 82 percent of the state’s voters were Democrats.

Last year, 45.4 percent of the state’s voters registered as Democrats.

In Stephens County, Democrats have lost 6,453 voters in 17 years while Republicans have gained 4,877, said Steve Fair, one of three Republican Committeemen in Oklahoma.

“If trends continue,  in two years -- 2016 -- Republicans will be the party of the plurality in the county,” Fair said.

Other facts regarding nearby counties:

* Comanche County has nearly 10,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans while Carter County Democrats outnumber the rival party by 7,257.

* Republicans in Cotton and Jefferson counties outnumber Democrats by almost identical margins: 1,887 in Cotton and 1,884 in Jefferson. The margin is much closer in Grady County, where Republicans have a 424 voter advantage.

Of course, party affiliation does not dictate how anyone may vote. President Obama failed to win a majority in any Oklahoma county in both of his elections.

Party affiliation, however, does entitle  a voter to cast a ballot in his party primaries and primary runoff elections, as well as participate in the party convention process, whether it’s at the precinct level or state level.

Independent-registered voters cannot do that.

For that reason alone, Fair said it makes little sense to register as an independent if a citizen wants to have a say in the policy-making process of either political party.

“In many cases, an office is decided in the primary because there is not an opponent in the general (election),” he said. “Independents should study the platforms of the two major parties and align with the one they most agree with.”

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