Special Election on Tuesday for Fire Department

By TRACY GOZA
Free-Lance Editor

Okmulgee County voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, April 3 for the Okmulgee County Special Election.

Polls will be open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters will be asked to approve or disapprove a proposition that will authorize the county to collect a 33-1/3 hundredths of one percent sales tax on the gross receipt of certain sales, providing that the revenues from such tax are used for the purpose of operations, equipment purchases and capital outlay of fire departments in Okmulgee County. Further the proposition will provide for a continued levy for successive fiscal years until a majority of electors repeal the proposition.

For voters who want to change their political party affiliation, they have until this Saturday, March 31 to submit changes. As long as the application is post-marked by that date, voters will be able to vote in the June Primary Election. 

“With all the recent fires throughout the county, expenses have really risen. A yes vote will greatly benefit all the county fire departments and would be greatly appreciated,” Henryetta Fire Department Chief David Bullard said. 

The majority of the county fire departments are working with outdated equipment and are in need of upgrades as well as uniforms for the safety of firemen and volunteers, Bullard said.

County firefighters and volunteer firefighters should be highly commended as they have spent countless hours over the past month fighting fires and responding to emergency calls.

Okmulgee County Election Board Secretary, Ashley Carnes provided the following information and tips for the upcoming election:

• Early voting will be available at the election board office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 30.

• Anyone who needs to look up their polling place, verify their registration information or view a sample ballot can do so online. The Online Voter Tool can be accessed on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website at: www.elections.ok.gov. Those who vote by mail can also check the status of their ballot using the Online Voter Tool. 

• Oklahoma law requires every voter who votes in person at the precinct polling place or during early voting at the county election board to show proof of identity before receiving a ballot. There are three ways for voters to prove their identity under the law (only one proof of identity is required): Show a valid photo ID issued by federal, state or tribal government; show the free voter identification card issued to every voter by the county election board or sign an affidavit and vote a professional ballot. (If the information on the affidavit matches official voter registration records, the ballot will be counted after election day.)

• Physically disabled voters who cannot enter the polling place, need help marking their ballots, blind or visually disabled voters and illiterate voters may be assisted by a person the voter chooses. In all cases, a person providing such assistance may not be the voter’s employer or an agent of the employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union. A person providing assistance also must swear or affirm that the voter’s ballots will be marked in accordance with the voter’s wishes. Alternatively, all blind, visually impaired and physically disabled voters in Okmulge County may use the audio-tactile interface (ATI), a feature offered on all Oklahoma voting devices to vote privately and independently, either at the Okmulgee County Election Board during early voting or at their assigned polling place on election day.

• Voters who have moved since the last election but who have not transferred their voter registration to their new address, may do so on election day by going to vote at the polling place where their registration has been in the past. While voting, they may fill out a form instructing the county election board to transfer their registration to the new address before the next election.

• Those who became physically incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 still can request an emergency absentee ballot. Those who might qualify for an emergency absentee ballot should contact the county election board office at 918-756-2365 as soon as possible for more information.

• Any violation of election law will be reported to the proper law enforcement authorities. Electioneering is not allowed within 30 feet of a ballot box. It is also unlawful to remove a ballot from the polling location, possess intoxicating liquors within half a mile of a polling place or to disclose how you voted while within the election enclosure.

For more election-related information, contact the Okmulgee County Election Board office at 314 W. 7th St. - Room 102 in Okmulgee or visit: www.elections.ok.gov.

Applications to register to vote or to change political affiliation are available at the county election board office, post offices, public libraries, state offices providing public assistance and at most political party and candidate campaign offices.

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