Oklahomans On The Hook For Costly Special Elections, Session

Wednesday, October 11th 2017, 8:24 am
By: Grant Hermes

New figures from the state Capitol show the cost of the special session and special elections are costing Oklahomans hundreds of thousands dollars. 

These costs are self-inflicted. Oklahomans are paying for eight special elections and the special session. Almost all of it brought on directly by the actions of lawmakers. 

In the last year, seven legislators have resigned their seats. Four of them resigned in disgrace amid scandal or after criminal charges were filed against them. Three others abandoned their seats to return to the private sector. The final seat was left vacant by the death of Rep. David Brumbaugh. 

A spokesman for the State Election Board told The Oklahoman that they don't have hard numbers on the cost of replacing those lawmakers, but he estimated it cost taxpayers between $194,000 and $250,000. 

On top of that, Oklahomans are paying for the ongoing special session which had to be called after a tax passed by the legislature was ruled unconstitutional. While lawmakers did recess for most of the session to save money, the cost is roughly $30,000 each day and it's closing in on $100,000 in total. 

The spokesman said they're trying to find the money to fund a special U.S. Congressional election if Congressman Jim Bridenstine is forced to leave his seat to become the head of NASA.

That election could cost up to $600,000. Right now, the state could not afford that election, he said.