KGOU

Oklahoma Engaged

Limited-Run Series Of Reports

Oklahoma Engaged is a collaborative series between KGOU and KOSU, with support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation. Oklahoma Engaged, examines and explains November 2016 ballot measures and key political races with an emphasis on voter apathy, changing demographics and other factors and trends impacting voter turnout. Reporters are turning their eye toward south Oklahoma City, an area of rapid demographic change and low voter turnout for this limited series.

A supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Oklahoma Republican Party's watch party at Main Event in Oklahoma City
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

There were few surprises at the national level as Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly chose Republican nominee Donald Trump to become the 45th president of the United States.

A line forms outside the Crown Heights Christian Church in Oklahoma City shortly after 8 a.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016..
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Polls opened at 7 a.m. across Oklahoma, and the State Election Board says nearly 1,000 extra pollworkers are manning precincts today. Several polling places throughout the metro had long lines, with some voters waiting for anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes Tuesday morning.

Santiago and Marco Arzate in the back room of their storefront property on Southwest 25th Street in Oklahoma City.
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

As KGOU and KOSU began crafting ideas for our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged, we were interested in several forms of storytelling. This included informative and in-depth radio stories and video profiles of folks in a south Oklahoma City district.

Video Breakdown: State Question 792

Nov 4, 2016

As KGOU and KOSU began crafting ideas for our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged, we were interested in several forms of storytelling. This included informative and in-depth radio stories and video profiles of folks in a south Oklahoma City district.

Oklahomans might be holding on to their money leading up to the election. One researcher suspects people here may be even more anxious than voters than other states. 

The business at Dean’s Drive-Through Pawn Shop in south Oklahoma City is slower than it used to be. Brett Fisher's dad started the shop in 1968. Owning a business was never easy, but they did it as a family and still had time to ride dirt bikes together. Brett bought the business 23 years ago, and things have never been tougher.

Oklahoma Voter Profile: Ligia Barona

Nov 3, 2016
Ligia Barona
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

As KGOU and KOSU began crafting ideas for our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged, we were interested in several forms of storytelling. This included informative and in-depth radio stories and video profiles of folks in a south Oklahoma City district.

Oklahoma Voter Profile: Don Graham

Oct 31, 2016
South Oklahoma City resident Don Graham
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

As KGOU and KOSU began crafting ideas for our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged, we were interested in several forms of storytelling. This included informative and in-depth radio stories and video profiles of folks in a south Oklahoma City district.

Oklahoma Voter Profile: Charito Rodriguez

Oct 28, 2016
Charito Rodriguez
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

As KGOU and KOSU began crafting ideas for our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged, we were interested in several forms of storytelling. This included informative and in-depth radio stories and video profiles of folks in a south Oklahoma City district.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Just over a year ago—under the dark of night—a Ten Commandments monument was removed from the state Capitol grounds.

State Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Tulsa, paid for it. Gov. Mary Fallin supported it. But its placement prompted a public debate—and ultimately a lawsuit—that forced its removal.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled it had to come down and based their decision on a section of the Oklahoma Constitution—Article 2, Section 5—that says public money and property may not be used to benefit religion.

People gather for the Fiesta de las Americas in Oklahoma City on Oct. 1, 2016.
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

 

Pete White drives slowly through his old neighborhood in south Oklahoma City. The 78-year-old Oklahoma City councilman has lived in the area his entire life.

 

“This is the house I grew up in right here,” White said as he drove through a tree lined neighborhood of modest homes.

 

Goats on a farm near Covington, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

State Question 777 would create a constitutional right to farm and ranch in Oklahoma, giving the agriculture industry unique protection from the state legislature. The ballot question concerns livestock and crops, but legal experts say the statewide measure will likely come down to lawsuits and courts.

In the weeks leading up to the November election, officials in cities and towns across the state have urged Oklahomans to vote no on SQ 777.

Carla Quillen, a proponent of SQ 780/781 stands outside her office on Aug. 30, 2016
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Oklahoma’s prisons are crowded, and the state continues to incarcerate offenders at the second- highest rate in the nation, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Two state questions on the November 8 ballot aim to ease both of those strains.  

Video Breakdown: State Question 779

Oct 17, 2016

As KGOU and KOSU began crafting ideas for our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged, we were interested in several forms of storytelling. This included informative and in-depth radio stories and video profiles of folks in a south Oklahoma City district.

Oklahoma Engaged: A Preview Of Capitol Hill

Oct 12, 2016
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

For weeks now, KGOU and KOSU have been unveiling stories on voter participation and the Oklahoma ballot in advance of the November 8 election.

The collaborative project, Oklahoma Engaged, examines and explains ballot measures and key political races with an emphasis on voter apathy, changing demographics and other factors impacting voter turnout.

empty classroom
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma teachers haven’t received a statewide pay raise in eight years. But this November, voters will have a chance to boost teacher pay if they approve State Question 779.

It would fund the raises through a one percent sales tax. Education advocates say this could prevent teachers from fleeing the state, or the profession for better paying jobs. But opponents argue the proposal would create an entirely different set of problems.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma's execution practices were under the national spotlight when the 2015 legislative session began. A few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the state’s three-drug lethal injection cocktail, Oklahoma state Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 31.  

Dep. Sheriff Red Edgman, Dep. Sheriff Dave Harlan, Sheriff Orin Johnston and Henry Troup break up a still near Purcell, Oklahoma in 1933.
Purman Wilson Collection / Oklahoma Historical Society

 

Oklahomans are considering some of the biggest changes to the state’s liquor laws since the end of prohibition. If approved, State Question 792 would amend the state constitution and alter a system with roots planted during the days of Indian Territory.

Wine bottles in The Spirit Shop in Norman
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

“There he is!” Bryan Kerr said with a laugh, as he greeted a customer at his liquor store in Moore. ”You’re always showing up at exactly the right time.”

The customer navigated through rows of bottles at Moore Liquor, while Kerr slipped outside. He took a few steps to an adjoining storefront to another business he owns: Party Moore.

“A lot of people mistake it for like a Party Galaxy or Party City. It is not that,” Kerr said as he cracked open the store’s door. “It is a party store that is exclusively built for parties that have alcohol in them.”

Two dancers practice in an empty lot next to their International Dance Studio (IDance) in Capitol Hill.
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

43 states had a higher voter turnout than Oklahoma in the last presidential election in 2012. We wanted to know more about why the state’s voter turnout is so low.

With support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation, KGOU and KOSU are collaborating on a series called Oklahoma Engaged. In the first of several stories, we focus on the state’s changing electorate.