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June 19, 2014

Early voting begins today

McALESTER — Voters in  Pittsburg County and across the state have an opportunity to vote in advance of Tuesday’s statewide Primary Election through early in-person absentee balloting.

The early in-person absentee ballot voting is available through 5 p.m. today as well as from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at the  Pittsburg County Election Board office at 109 E. Carl Albert Parkway, Room 101.

“No early voting” will be available Monday, said Assistant Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Tonya Barnes. That’s because of a change in state election laws that added Thursday, but eliminated Monday, as a day for early voting in statewide elections, according to Barnes.

Following the three days of early voting and the pre-election Monday, plans call for regular polling places to remain open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday for the statewide Primary Election.

Local races on the ballot include the Democratic Primary Election between District 3 Pittsburg County Commissioner Trent Myers and challenger Ross Selman.

A state House District 17 GOP Primary Election is on the ballot between Micah Thompson and Paul Marean.

Also, Haileyville has a Public Service Co. of Oklahoma franchise election, while Kiowa has a franchise election  regarding CenterPoint Energy, as well as a proposition for a 2 percent sales tax for “creating, constructing and maintaining” the streets and alleys  in the town.

The statewide election also includes primary elections on the Democratic ballot to select that party’s candidates for the office of state superintendent of public instruction, the post currently held by Republican Janet Barresi; the unexpired U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and the District 2 U.S. Rep. seat held by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville.

For the primary, the Republican ballot is much more crowded with candidates.

They will be selecting GOP candidates with Gov. Mary Fallin having two challenges from her own party;  for superintendent of public instruction, state insurance commissioner and state corporation commissioner.

Five GOP candidates are vying to become their party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa.

Another seven GOP candidates are running to become their party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate seat which will become vacant when Coburn steps down before his current term is completed.

In addition, District 2 U.S. Rep, Markwayne Mullin is facing a challenge from his own party in his bid to return to Congress.

If no candidate in the Primary Election receives at least 50 percent, plus one, of the total votes cast in the primary,  a Primary Runoff Election for the top two vote-getters in each race is set for Aug. 26.

When each party’s nominees are determined, they will face each other, as well as independent candidates in several races, in the Nov. 4 General Election.

Meanwhile, those who want to vote by in-person absentee ballot can fill out an application form when they get to the election board office on the designated early voting days. They are not required to give a reason for wanting to vote by absentee ballot, according to Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Cathy Thornton.

They are required to swear that they have not voted a regular mail absentee ballot and that they will not vote at their polling place on election day, election officials said.

At the election  board office, members of the Absentee Voting Board are set to be in place to verify a voter’s information. ­Once the information is verified, plans call for voters to be issued the appropriate ballots.

Voters will then have an opportunity to mark their ballots in a voting designated area and then place the ballot into an electronic  voting machine, election officials said.

Anyone needing more information can contact the Pittsburg County Election Board, located at 109 E. Carl Albert Parkway, Room 101.

The phone number is 918-423-3877.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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