Stillwater News Press

April 12, 2014

Yale candidate declines to contest results

By NewsPress Staff
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — Supporters of Brian Porter, the candidate who challenged Yale’s Mayor Terry Baker in the April 1 election, questioned polling practices after their candidate lost the race by two votes.

They said several Yale residents had complained about being turned away because of problems with their identification.

State law now requires voters to display photo identification in order to vote.

The State Election Board will accept a valid and current Oklahoma driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a U.S. passport, U.S. military ID or a tribal membership card as long as it contains a photo and hasn’t expired.

They can also show their original voter ID card.

Porter’s supporters said at least one voter was turned away because his driver’s license was expired. They claim he wasn’t given the chance to return with his voter ID card.

According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, anyone can cast a provisional ballot.

Those without required ID have to sign a sworn statement and their eligibility is investigated by the county election board before their votes can be counted.

That is what should have happened in Yale before anyone was turned away, said Payne County Election Board Secretary Alyson Dawson.

Dawson said she wasn’t present at the polls that day so she can’t say with certainty that anyone was in fact turned away. Porter said he ultimately decided not to contest the race because a former election board employee told him he’d have to present proof of those allegations in a hearing.

He was concerned about voters being turned away but not confident enough to pursue it before a judge, he said. Ultimately, he decided to accept the election results and move on.

“I’m not a sore loser,” he said. “If I want to be mad at anybody about the loss it has to be me.”

He said if he lost by only a few votes, it means he should have gone out and knocked on a few more doors.

Dawson said allegations about any irregularities at the polls would have been investigated if Porter had contested the election but by accepting the results he has ended the process. The election board will be holding its bi-annual training for poll workers in May.

It will address voter ID requirements and other issues that can arise, she said.