Unless an Oklahoma municipality decides otherwise, state law requires municipal elections to be conducted on a nonpartisan basis. Oklahoma City’s charter provides that no party emblem or party designation shall appear on the ballot, but the charter does not require the election to be conducted “on a nonpartisan basis.”
While the News9/Oklahoma Gazette poll’s pre-election survey indicated political parties were not a big factor, election results in the March mayoral election seemed to indicate otherwise.
In the pre-election survey, traditional voters in the mayoral election said that the candidate’s political party wasn’t a big influence. Only 38 percent said party affiliation affected their decision a lot or some.
The poll also shed light onto how political affiliation and philosophy might or might not have affected their votes.
Only 56 percent of those surveyed correctly identified Mick Cornett as a Republican, and only 10 percent correctly identified Ed Shadid as an Independent, while 34 percent incorrectly identified him as a Democrat.
Registration and voting data
A ward by ward comparison of voter registration to the election results shows that Shadid underperformed the Democratic registration and Cornett over performed the Republican registration in every ward.
Shadid’s best performances were in Wards 2, 6 and 7. Ward 2, which Shadid represents, gave him 42 percent of its vote. It has the third largest percentage of registered Democrats (47 percent) among the wards.
Shadid’s highest percentage (49 percent) was in Ward 7, which has the highest percentage of registered Democrats (55 percent). Ward 6 gave Shadid 46 percent of the vote from a registered voter base of a high percentage of registered Democrats (51 percent) and the highest percentage of registered Independents (21 percent) of any ward.
Cornett’s votes by ward clearly reflect a direct relationship to the wards’ percentage of registered Republicans.
The 2014 Oklahoma City mayoral election appears to be influenced by the political philosophies of its voters and, in turn, their party affiliations, leaving in question whether the city had a truly nonpartisan municipal election.