Transcript Staff Writer

Despite elections being nearly one month away, one voting deadline is today.

For first-time voters who want to vote in the July 25 primary, today is the last chance to register. Anette Pretty, assistant secretary of the Cleveland County Election Board, said it is not too late for voters to register.

Pretty said voters can register at any tag agency, post office or at the library, but the best place to register on the final day to register to be eligible for the primaries is at the election board headquarters itself.

"We encourage people to come here, especially if they are first-time voters," Pretty said. "If they do, within two days they will have a voter ID card in the mail."

Pretty said it is necessary to mail in registration applications if voters apply at the post office or library, which can be a risk. She said if there are any mistakes on the application, or any information is left off, the registration will have to be completed again, but will not be processed until after July 25.

Marilyn McReynolds, secretary of the McClain County Election Board, said one of the most important things to put on a registration is party affiliation. Those who register as independents, or those who do not specify "Republican" or "Democrat" will be ineligible to vote in Republican and Democratic primaries, as they will be classified "Independent."

Filling out the registration can take anywhere from a few minutes to 10 minutes, Pretty said. Voters will not need identification, but will need to know their street address, not a post office box or route address, as well as either a driver's license number or the last four digits of their social security number.

Quite a few voters have already registered. According to the McClain County Administration and Registration Report, 19,146 voters have registered in McClain County. Of these voters, 9,825 are registered Democrats, 7,339 are registered Republicans and 1,982 are registered independent. For Cleveland County, 134,305 voters had registered as of May 31, according to the election board's Web site. Republicans have 62,163 registered, Democrats have 54,954 registered, while 17,188 are independent.

McReynolds said while last-second registration might make her office busy, she and her staff do not mind and are ready to help.

"I am always hopeful that we'll be busy," McReynolds said. "We want them to register and more importantly, we want them to vote."

McClain County Election Board's office is at 121 N. 2nd Ave., Room 101, in Purcell. Cleveland County Election Board's office is at 122 S. Peters Ave. in Norman. Registration at both offices, as well as other registration locations, closes at 5 p.m. today.

Althea Peterson 366-3539 apeterson@normantranscript.com

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