Education , Law & Principles

Oklahoma groups want school board elections on Election Day

Brandon Dutcher | February 1, 2024

By now it’s well known that with local school board elections being held on unusual dates, voter turnout is extremely low. A February 2023 school board election in Claremore, for example, drew only 3.67 percent of eligible voters, while in Owasso it was 3.3 percent. Additional examples abound.

For many in the education community, this low voter turnout is a feature, not a bug. As Yale University political scientist Eitan Hersh wrote in 2015, “Scheduling local elections at odd times appears to be a deliberate strategy aimed at keeping turnout low, which gives more influence to groups like teachers unions that have a direct stake in the election’s outcome.” (The president of the Western Heights school board, elected with a whopping 328 votes, was a school board candidate while also working as an Oklahoma Education Association organizer.)

Unsurprisingly, then, many current school board members don’t want elections to be held in November. Former state Sen. J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso), to his great credit, actually said the quiet part out loud: “They have concerns that there will be a larger, uninformed voter (group) making the decision. And I guess, honestly, they like lower turnout with a higher-informed voter.”

Two bills being considered in the Oklahoma Legislature, SB 244 (Seifried) and HB 3563 (Banning), would move elections to Election Day, thus boosting voter turnout and making local school boards more representative of the electorate as a whole.

Several groups in Oklahoma are on board with this reform. [More groups are being added weekly, and this post will be updated accordingly.]

  • American Conservative Union

  • Americans for Prosperity–Oklahoma

  • Convention of States–Oklahoma

  • Council for Oklahoma Private Education

  • Heritage Action for America

  • Ladies for Liberty

  • Moms for Liberty–Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)

  • Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC)

  • Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association (OK2A)

  • Oklahoma Catholic Conference

  • Oklahoma City Republican Women's Club

  • Oklahoma Faith Leaders

  • Oklahoma Parents for Student Achievement

  • Oklahomans for Health & Parental Rights

  • Owasso Area Republican Women’s Club

  • Patriot Pastors

  • Republican Women’s Club–South Tulsa

  • Republican Women’s Club of Tulsa County

  • School Boards 4 Kids

  • State Chamber Research Foundation

  • Tulsa 9.12 Project

  • Tulsa County Republican Men’s Club

  • Tulsa Parents Voice

  • Women for Tulsa

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine,,, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

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