OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of voters in Oklahoma who left their presidential ballot blank or wrote in a candidate nearly doubled in the 2016 election compared with 2012, according to data from the Oklahoma State Election Board.
About 15,930 voters did not vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson for president, compared with more than 8,000 Oklahoma ballots that didn't include a vote for president in 2012, The Oklahoman reported.
State Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean said write-in votes aren't counted in Oklahoma, so it's the same as not voting. The Oklahoma ballot does not have a space for voters to write in a candidate's name. The state is one of seven that do not allow write-in candidates, along with Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and South Dakota.
In August, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and progressive Rock De La Fuente filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming the ballot access laws are biased against independent and third-party candidates. That lawsuit is ongoing. Rachel Jackson, facilitator for the Green Party of Oklahoma's Cooperative Council, said the signature requirements for a third-party candidate to be on the ballot are both labor intensive and cost prohibitive.
"Do you cast a vote even though you can't vote for the candidate you want to vote for, or do you abstain from voting," Jackson said. "I just felt in this election that every vote was going to count."
In the end, Trump won the state with more than 65 percent of the votes cast.