School board results -- barely 1000 voters


What a disappointing result -- barely 1,000 voters turned out for today's Tulsa school board election, and 12-year incumbent Cathy "asleep at the wheel" Newsome was re-elected with 64% of the vote. Her opponents split the rest of the vote. There will be no runoff, since Newsome got more than 50% of the vote. She wins a four-year term, which is far too long. Like every other aspect of Oklahoma school board elections, the length of the term seems designed to reduce the accountability of school boards and administrations to taxpayers and parents.

There wasn't much campaigning. In a normal political race, a candidate knock on doors, make phone calls, mail flyers put out signs, and do his best to connect at least once with every likely voter in the district. In this election, I didn't see any such effort, except for a last minute blanket of right-of-way signs for Claudia Brown-King and one handmade sign for Betty Morrow. The turnout was so low that a concentrated voter contact effort might have been enough to beat the incumbent. Someone with a back-to-basics message -- a real alternative to the current approach to schooling -- and an organized political effort could have won and won big.

I showed up at my polling place -- the rear entrance of 29th & Yale Church of Christ -- at 8:30 and was the second voter (one of the precinct workers voted before me). My wife voted an hour later and was voter number 4. When I drove by, I didn't see the "VOTE HERE" sign by the road. I wasn't sure that our precinct was in District 5 -- it was in District 6 before the lines were redrawn after the 2000 census -- but based on Betty Morrow's description of boundaries, we should be voting. Sure enough, when I drove around to the back of the building, the VOTE HERE window sign. Evidently the sign by the street had fallen over or had been knocked over.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 25, 2004 12:11 AM.

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