Rodger House voted straight Republican on his ballot Tuesday, rebuking what he saw as an attempted communist takeover of the federal government by Democrats.
Despite what the polls said on Election Day, House predicted a big night for Republicans and hoped it would lead to the impeachment and incarceration of Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who he believed had betrayed the country.
“If this were wartime it would be treason, and it would be a different sentence than jail,” said House, 73, who made a motion with his hands as if he were firing a rifle while exiting a north Oklahoma City precinct.
Nearly 25 miles south in Norman, Leah Pollan voted for Democrats because she wanted to bring more balance to state government.
“Good government comes out of compromise instead of a supermajority,” said Pollan, referring to the large majority Republicans have in the state Legislature.
Across Oklahoma Tuesday, thousands of voters cast ballots for candidates and state questions, but also for their vision of American and their state. Wait times topped an hour at many precincts and lines wrapped around buildings, partly a product of the six feet spacing between voters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oklahoma City resident Kristie Sheen woke at 5 a.m. with “high anxiety” for the day to come. She figured she might as well get an early start at her precinct.
“I feel like our country is on the ballot, our democracy is on the ballot,” said Sheen, who voted for Democrats.
A few races in the state will bring suspense when the polls close at 7 p.m., including Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district, an Oklahoma County sheriff’s race and a state question to eliminate sentence enhancements for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.
Oklahoma will assuredly go for president Donald Trump, who has trailed in most national polls leading up to the election.
But it remains to be seen if Trump will underperform his 63 percent vote share in 2016 and whether Democratic candidate Joe Biden is able to win any counties, with Oklahoma County being the most likely to flip.
“This was the first time I voted for a Democrat for president,” said Rachel Treat, who had just voted in Harrah. “Last election we just didn’t know what we were getting into but we quickly learned.”
Treat didn’t like the way Trump spoke about veterans, including former senator John McCain. She also felt like the conservative news media she followed in 2016 downplayed Trump’s talk about race.
“I’m interested to see how many people actually don’t support Trump who did in 2016,” said Treat, who added she has become an avid NPR listener because of its balanced coverage.
Rachel Blackwell won’t be one of those voters to change her allegiance as she said her support for Trump has only increased over the past four year.
“When they attack Trump I feel like they are attacking me,” said Blackwell, who voted at a precinct in Canadian County.
House, the Oklahoma City voter who supported Trump, said the president had disrupted the system in Washington.
“He was not part of the deep state corruption and there is that in both parties,” House said.
More than 437,000 Oklahomans have already voted early through the mail or in-person, according to the State Election Board.
Many submitted mail ballots in an effort to avoid crowds as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to throughout the state.
Precincts on Tuesday had social distancing measures in place and most voters wore masks.
Some precincts were also scrambling to regain power following last week’s ice storm.
“Our county election boards are facing challenges they’ve never experienced before, but they have been preparing for this election for months,” said Paul Ziriax, the State Election Board Secretary.
Pollan said she waited 1 hour and 15 minutes to vote at her Norman precinct. But it was worth it.
“I have memories of watching presidential coverage … with my father. Is birthday is today but he passed away a few years ago,” Pollan said.
“This was a way to remember him.”