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Bill to Make Sheriff's Races Nonpartisan Passes (Mar 09, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - County sheriff's elections in Oklahoma would be nonpartisan under a bill approved by the state Senate.

The bill by Republican Sen. Rob Johnson of Kingfisher passed by a 29-17 vote Wednesday after drawing spirited debate and opposition from fellow Republicans including Anthony Sykes of Moore and Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City.

Johnson says the primary job of a sheriff "is arresting the bad guys" - not policy decisions. He says the standards that apply to nonpartisan judicial elections should apply to sheriffs.

Sykes says voters want to know as much as possible about candidates for any office and that the bill would mean voters would be provided with less information. Shortey says voters should know where a sheriff stands on issues.

The bill now goes to the House.

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