Oklahoma Democrats welcome independents to vote in primaries

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma election officials say registered independents will be able to continue voting in Democratic primaries during the next election cycle.

Oklahoma Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Monday he'd been notified by the Oklahoma Democratic Party that it will continue to allow independents to vote in its primaries in 2020 and 2021.

Ziriax said both the Republican and Libertarian parties have notified his office that their primaries will remain closed to independent voters.

Oklahoma law allows recognized political parties to open their primaries to registered independents by notifying the Election Board secretary ahead of the election year.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party opened its primaries to independents beginning with the 2016 election year. Party leaders at the time said they hoped the move would help Democratic candidates appeal to more voters.

The change means independents could help decide which Democratic candidate wins the state's “Super Tuesday” presidential primary election on March 3.