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November 2, 2011

Charter vote will aid troops overseas

NORMAN — In order to come into alignment with new state laws intended to make voting easier for U.S. troops, Norman residents must approve a charter amendment on Nov. 8.

The city election addresses two issues on the ballot. The first will amend the city charter on the designation of dates for municipal general and runoff elections to comply with new state law that makes Oklahoma’s election calendar comply with the Federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.

“It’s absolutely essential. The military are defending our country and our way of life, it’s absolutely essential,” Council member Roger Gallagher said. “They put their lives on the line for our civilians, it’s very important.”

The change will provide certain months in which elections can occur. Most importantly, these changes will provide adequate time between elections and runoffs to allow members of troops serving away from home to vote through use of absentee ballots.

The charter amendment asked:

“Shall sections 5 and 6 of Article II of the charter of the city of Norman which relates to the designation of dates for municipal general and runoff elections, be amended to provide for the setting of municipal general and runoff elections as provided under the then-current state law, be approved?”

For Norman to be compliant with state law, voters must approve this amendment.

Registered voters who want or need to vote early can do so from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday before the election. Early ballots can be cast at the Cleveland County Election Board, 641 E. Robinson St., Suite 200, Norman.

Eligible registered voters who became physically incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday won’t have to miss the Nov. 8 election, County Election Board Secretary Jim Williams said.

State law allows eligible registered voters who will be unable to go to the polls because they became incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday to vote on an emergency basis. “Physical incapacitation” includes a variety of conditions — injury, illness and childbirth — that prevent a person from voting in person at the polls on Election Day.

“If you think that you or someone you know fits into this category, contact the County Election Board office at 366-0210 as soon as possible for more information,” Williams said.

Joy Hampton 366-3539 jhampton@ normantranscript.com Like me on Facebook

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