McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 24, 2014

Mail-in deadline for March 4 election is Wednesday

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — City of McAlester voters in Ward 6 who want to vote by mail-in absentee ballot in the upcoming Ward 6 city council election have until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to apply.

That’s according to Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Cathy Thornton.

Three candidates will be on the ballot for the March 4 election to elect a Ward 6 city councilor: Jason Barnett, Cletis Lowe  Jr. and Marsha Coyle.

Barnett, 41, of 532 S. Seventh St., is the current Ward 6 city councilor.

McAlester city councilors appointed Barnett in January to fill the unexpired term of former Ward 6 Councilor/McAlester Vice Mayor Sam Mason, who resigned from the post in December.

Since Mason’s term would have ended in March, Barnett has served for only a couple of months before having to face election on his own.

Lowe, 34, of 1000 E. Delaware Ave., had been the second candidate to file for the Ward 6 post, making his candidacy official shortly after Barnett.

Lowe had also applied for appointment to the Ward 6 office, before city councilors officially settled on Barnett.

Coyle, 54, of 1509 E. South Ave., had also applied for appointment to the Ward 6 office before Barnett got the official nod.

Coyle, Lowe and Barnett had all told the city council in January that they intended to seek election to the Ward 6 seat during the March 4 election.

Meanwhile, absentee ballot application forms are available at the Pittsburg County Election Board office at 109 E. Carl Albert Parkway, Room 101.

The forms can also be downloaded online at www.elections.ok.gov.

Thornton noted that it takes at least two mail transactions in order for a mail-in absentee ballot to be counted.

“The county election board must mail the ballots to the voter and the voter must return the voted ballots by mail,” she said.

Following the transactions, ballots must be in the hands of election board workers by 7 p.m. on March 4, election day, in order to be counted, she said.

Although any voter registered to vote can cast an absentee ballot in which he or she is a qualified elector, the law also provides several excuses and it is to the advantage of some voters to activate them, according to Thornton.

Those include:

• Physically incapacitated voters and those who care for them. They must apply by mail, fax or email, according to election officials.

• Voters confined to nursing homes. They too must apply by mail, fax or email.

• Military personnel and Pittsburg County residents living overseas, along with their spouses and dependents, are eligible to receive absentee ballots. They must apply by mail, fax or email.

Military personnel should contact the Voting Service officers in their unit for application forms or can go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, at FVAP.gov., according to election officials.

Oklahoma residents living overseas can get the same materials from any U.S. military installation. It’s also available from U.S. embassies and consulates as well as on the FVAP website, according to election officials.

Anyone needing more information regarding the March 4 election can contact the Pittsburg County Election Board at 918-423-3877.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.