Three seats in the state legislature will be decided Tuesday. The Secretary of the State Election Board says they haven't held this many special elections for legislative seats in at least two decades.
Folks in the 45th Senate District are voting to fill Kyle Loveless's seat. He was forced to resign after he was charged with embezzling campaign funds. As part of his plea deal he had to give the election board $40,000 to pay for the special election to replace him.
But for all the others taxpayers are on the hook.
Across Oklahoma Tuesday, six candidates are vieing for three open seats in the state legislature. By the time this year is over the state election board will have held at least nine elections to fill seats vacated early by members of the Oklahoma legislature.
“We’ve talked to some people who have worked in elections for a long time in Oklahoma and nobody remembers quite this many,” said Paul Ziriax-Secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board
Before today the election board had already shelled out $120,000 for special elections this year and that number is expected to double.
“We’ll probably be around $200,000 total in special election costs,” estimated Ziriax.
“This is getting expensive,” said Senator Rob Standridge(R) – Norman.
So Senator Rob Standridge has filed legislation to make lawmakers who leave their seats early pay the costs of the special election to replace them. Either out of their own pocket or their campaign funds.
“I think it’s time of legislators to fulfill their commitment or help out in the chance that they can’t fulfill their commitment.”