“Everything is changing,” Will Rogers said. “People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be vice versa.”
Rogers’ many pronouncements still strike truth when dug into the often treacherous ground of American and Oklahoma politics. With citizens of his birthplace in Rogers County gaining access to a new, digital voter-awareness tool, things still appear to be changing.
CITIZEN ALERT SYSTEM
Sign up here to receive Rogers County alerts.
“You know how they have the emergency alert system that you can sign up on in some counties?” said Rogers County Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody. “Well we’ve piggy-backed onto the emergency alert system.”
Rogers County Commissioners approved a plan in early 2016 to create the “voter alert” system through the county’s existing “emergency alert” technology, Dermody said.
“We send it out by text message, and it has a verbal message for those who want to receive a phone call. Or it’s sent by email,” Dermody said, noting that messages are sent on election day as well as on final days to change party registration. “We also try to give them a little bit of a heads up on early voting.”
Residents can sign up for the alert system on the county election board’s website, and Dermody said she believes Rogers County is the first county in Oklahoma to offer such a service.
“So far, we’ve got about 350 people that have opted in for the election information, but we’re just now pushing it and starting to get the word out,” she said.
Rogers County Commissioner Dan DeLozier (District 1) praised Dermody for spearheading the effort, and he said more Americans need to be engaged in the democratic process.
“The people that I have talked to, I think it’s informing the voters, and that’s what we need to do,” DeLozier said. “Everybody needs to get out to vote.
“The more people that get out to vote, it gives a voice to the people,” DeLozier said. “In my case, if they feel I’m doing a good job, they’re going to vote for me. If not, they’ll be looking at other people.
“We occasionally have bond issue stuff, and when they know to vote, a lot more people will start paying attention. And we need people to vote.”
Rogers County is home to about 91,000 people, according to U.S. Census estimates. The county seat is Claremore, and the county itself is named for Clem Vann Rogers, the father of Will Rogers.