Website shames bad voters into voting in Oklahoma
Oklahoma consistently ranks is in the bottom five states for voter turnout. But the creator of a new website hopes to change that. The site keeps track of whether you vote in the primary runoffs Tuesday or sit this one out.
"For all the different things to try to get people to vote that actually shame is probably one of the highest and most powerful motivators," said badvoter.org creator David Glover.
The site calls Oklahomans out for their voting history, or lack thereof.
"What I want to do is put a virtual 24/7, 365-day-a-year "I voted" or "I didn't vote" sticker on everybody that's registered in Oklahoma," Glover said.
The site allows users to type in anyone's first and last name into the database to report exactly how many days it's been since that person last voted. Glover also has a page dedicated to famous Oklahomans like local politicians and athletes. It shows Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are not registered and have never voted in the state, according to state election board data. Glover classifies a "bad voter" as someone who has not voted in the past year. Soon he says the label will change to an A-F letter grade based on an algorithm.
"It's a goal I share with the creators of the website with increasing voter participation, however I'm not sure that's a tactic I would use," said State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax.
Ziriax was in for a shock when he looked himself up in the database.
"I was actually shown as a bad voter as the election board secretary and what had happened is I didn't have a single election I was eligible to vote in from April 2013 until June of 2014," he said.
Glover said the algorithm is changing to help out independents who have fewer voting options. But Ziriax is still skeptical of the method.
"What about people who feel a little exposed here?" reporter Rebecca Schleicher asked Glover Monday.
"Well the actual state election board has a freely available database and they'll tell you everything about the people: date of birth, party registration things like that. I'm only returning a little bit of information," he responded.
Name, age, city and days since that person last voted are available on badvoter.org. Glover does not post anything about party affiliation or information about how a person voted.
Glover says he's working with other parties who are interested in taking the idea national. And professors at OU expressed interest in tracking and studying the data, including who looks themselves up and whether that changes their participation in elections.
He says after Tuesday's election it should take about three weeks for people to see an update to their badvoter.org profile.