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Oklahoma election filing
Joe Exotic files paperwork to run for governor at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Tres Savage)

While the world is in the grips of a viral pandemic, the wheels of democracy roll on as Oklahoma election filing starts today for those running for office in 2020.

Oklahomans who want to run for office at the federal or state level can file from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday this week.

The process is different this year, owing to COVID-19. Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax is urging people to file their paperwork — along with the required fee or petition — by mail or delivery service.

“This is not an ideal situation for either election officials or candidates,” Ziriax said. “But with a little patience and a lot of precautions, we will get through the candidate filing period together.”

Party primaries are scheduled for June 30 for most offices. Runoffs will be held Aug. 25, and the General Election will be held Nov. 3.

Those wishing to file in person can still do so, but it must be done using a special drive-thru facility that has been created in order to follow social distancing guidelines. That facility will be in the Oklahoma State Capitol’s south parking lot at 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.

Before coming to the drive-through location, candidates should review the candidate checklist contained in the filing packet and be sure bring all required papers and information. When arriving at the Capitol, filers should look for signs with further instructions about the route, Ziriax said.

Prospective candidates can visit the State Election Board’s website at elections.ok.gov for specific details about filing, such as delivery instructions or information about the drive-through filing procedures. Candidates can also contact the State Election Board for details at (405) 521-2391 or info@elections.ok.gov.

All 101 seats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are eligible for election in 2020, as are the odd-numbered districts of the Oklahoma State Senate. All five congressional seats are eligible, as is the seat of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Todd Hiett.

Filing for county offices is also open this week, through Friday. Those intending to file for county offices should contact their local election board for instructions on any COVID-19 related changes.

To view a list of candidates who have filed for state and federal offices, go here. The list is updated throughout each day of Oklahoma election filing.

(Update: This post was updated at 1:30 p.m. to include additional information.)