March 14, 2018
Bill Shapard

Oklahomans support moving local school board elections to statewide election dates

The Oklahoma State Election Boards saves the first Tuesday of every month for an election, and some of those elections have very small turnout of voters. According to the most recent SoonerPoll, likely voters support moving local school board elections to a statewide election date.

In an effort to increase voter participation and save money, the state legislature is currently considering HB 2082 that would move any school board general election to the April ballot instead of the much lower turnout February ballot if the contest is between only two candidates. If the race is three or more candidates, the race would appear on the February ballot.

In 2017, 84 percent of the school board races were between only two candidates.

"The goal is to save taxpayer money, by reducing the number of days per year polling places need to be open," said Cordon DeKock, Vice President for Political Affairs at the State Chamber of Oklahoma, and a supporter of the legislation.

"Additionally, voter participation is traditionally higher in April, so by consolidating the majority of the school board elections on the same date as the majority of municipal elections, we can have higher turnout for both," DeKock said.

[box][QUESTION] Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE moving local school board elections to statewide election dates to encourage voter participation?

1. Strongly support41.3%2. Somewhat support30.33. No opinion/Don't know/Refused [DNR]12.74. Somewhat oppose8.25. Strongly oppose7.4


Support for moving local school board elections had broad support among voters from both parties and Independents, although Democrats expressed slightly stronger support than Republicans or Independents.

More than half of all self-identified liberals (51%) "strongly supported" moving school board elections, while only 41.3 percent of conservatives and 36 percent of Independents.

Strong support increased slightly, with an increase in the level of education, of the poll participant from 34.3 percent among high school graduates to 45.6 percent among those with advanced college degrees.

No significant differences were observed among poll participants within age group subsets, race, income level, suburban or rural voters, or various levels of church attendance.

Men, however, were almost 10 points more likely to support the move than women, 76.9 percent to 67.2 percent.

About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll, and was commissioned by the State Chamber of Oklahoma.

The scientific study was conducted from January 4-9, 2018 with 409 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of both landline telephone and cell phones, plus a online panel from Research Now. The sample was weighted by age, political party, sex and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a primary election. The weighting was conducted using a 'layered technique.'

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.84 percent.

This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here. A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.