By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Results could make for exciting evening
And they’re off! Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today for the General Election races. Several local races are heating up to be close contests, and the latest polls indicate the presidential race likely will be very close.
Early voting turnout has been strong. There were 2,548 early voters on Monday, for a total of 6,129 early voters for all three days, which was about 300 more than voted early four years ago, according to Cleveland County Election Board Secretary Jim Williams.
Of Monday’s voters, around 300 came through the drive-through set up to serve voters with disabilities, Williams said.
In addition, the election board processed 6,511 requests for absentee ballots. Most of those have already come back to the election board. Of those, 752 ballots were sent to overseas and uniformed voters. All absentee ballots returned to the election board by 7 p.m. today will be counted.
The Cleveland County Election Board assisted around 245 voters per hour during early voting, Williams said.
“Everything went so well,” he said of the early voting. “We got a lot of compliments on how organized we were.”
Williams said that voters who want to get through the lines quickly today should vote at mid-morning or mid-afternoon — the two slowest periods for voting.
“Anyone who is eligible and in line at the polling place at 7 p.m. (today) will be entitled to vote,” he said.
On today’s ballot:
· Incumbent Republican Tom Cole, Democrat Donna Marie Bebo and Independent RJ Harris are in the U.S. Representative District 4 race.
· Cleveland County includes one State Senate race in District 15, with Republican Rob Standridge and Democrat Claudia Griffith vying for the open seat.
· Two Cleveland County positions are still up for grabs, including court clerk, with Republican Mitchell Slemp challenging incumbent Democrat Rhonda Hall. In the race for county sheriff, incumbent Republican Joe Lester will take on Independent Kelly Owings.
· Various portions of Cleveland County cover three state house races, including District 20, with Republican Bobby Cleveland facing Democrat Matt Branstetter; District 27, with incumbent Republican Josh Cockroft challenged by Democrat Randy R. Gilbert; and District 45, with incumbent Republican Aaron Stiles defending against Democrat Paula Roberts.
· Four state Supreme Court justices and seven appellate judges are on the judicial retention portion of the ballot. The state bar association has introduced www.CourtFacts.org, a website that features complete biographies and photos, along with court cases and legal opinions authored by the judges and justices.
· Six state questions cover a variety of topics and were reviewed in Monday’s Transcript. Those articles can be read online at normantranscript.com.
Oklahoma recently began using a new voting system. With the new ballots, voters will fill in a box next to their selections. If a voter makes a mistake marking a ballot, the spoiled ballot should be returned to precinct officials, who will destroy it and issue a new ballot to the voter.
Oklahoma law requires voters to show proof of identity. Voters may use voter identification cards, which do not have a photo. Other acceptable ID must have been issued by the United States government, the state of Oklahoma or a federally recognized tribal government and contain the person’s name, photograph and an expiration date that’s later than the election date.
The law also requires the voter’s name on the ID to match the name in the precinct registry. If a voter does not have or refuses to show proof of identity, the voter may vote by provisional ballot.
To follow live Oklahoma election results as they unfold online after the polls, visit normantranscript.com.
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