Claremore Daily Progress

October 29, 2012

Early-bird voters

Election Board gearing up for 5,000 ballots

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The Rogers County Election Board is preparing for early voters as Friday marks the kick off of the General Election. 

Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.
“In the past we have had about 3,200 early voters,” said Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody. “We are gearing up for up to 5,000.”
The Election Board office, located at 415 West 1st Street in Claremore, is the only early voting location that will be open for those dates.
The General Election will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Officials are preparing for voters that will decide the winner for Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. 
Republican Markwayne Mullin, Democrat Rob Wallace and Independent Michael Fulks will be facing off for the seat of Dan Boren.
Local candidates Republican Kim Henry and Democrat Candi Czpansky will be vying for Rogers County Court Clerk. 
The Presidential election may be the biggest draw for voters as President Barrack Obama looks to gain another term over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
A number of judges are also listed on the ballot and voters are encouraged to “do their homework” by Dermody.
Additionally, six state questions will be listed on the ballot.
Of the six, two deal with taxes, two are administrative in nature and one addresses affirmative action.
State Questions 758, 759, 762, 764, 765 and 766 include a bit of length and voters should come prepared, according to Julie Dermody, Rogers County Election Board Secretary.
SQ 758 amends the state constitution and deals with ad valorem or property tax. 
Property tax is based on several factors including the fair cash value of a property. 
This measure would change the limit on fair cash value increases. 
SQ 766 also deals with taxes; it exempts some personal property from being included in property taxation.
Virtually every Oklahoma family or business owns intangible property, often without even realizing it. 
Exempting intangible property will permanently protect families and small businesses from new taxes on items like pensions, retirement benefits, professional licenses (such as teaching certificates and nursing licenses), apartment leases, insurance policies and employment contracts. 
Since most states do not tax this type of property, passing State Question 766 will keep Oklahoma jobs and businesses on an even playing field with competitors in other states, according to www.okprosperity.com
SQ 762 simply decreases the power of the Governor by removing the Governor from the parole process for persons convicted of certain offenses defined as nonviolent offenses.
Currently Oklahoma is the only state in which the Governor is still involved in the parole process for all offenders. 
SQ 765 will abolish the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and certain positions within it. 
It will provide for direct administration to be created by the Oklahoma Legislature including but not limited to creation of departments or departments to carry out laws to provide for the aged or needy.
 SQ 764 allows the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds. 
The measure is designed to help rural Oklahoma water districts and other public bodies with funding. The funding would be reserved for certain water resource and sewage treatment funding programs.
SQ 759 deals with three areas of government action. The areas are education, employment and contracting.
The measure would prohibit the use of affirmative action programs to give preferred treatment based on race, color or gender, ethnicity or national origin.
Proponents of this measure believe that affirmative action has become the equivalent to a quota system and peoples should only be hired based on their qualifications.  The business aspect of this measure comes into play when dealing with “bid preferences” and drives up the costs of government, according to www.okprosperity.com.
Some restrictions to the law remain and affirmative action will still be permitted when gender is a bonafide qualification under existing court order or if needed to keep or obtain federal funds.
Officials with the Rogers County Election Board are working to make sure they are ready for early voters, according to Dermody.
 It is likely that there will be long lines and voters should come prepared, she added.
“It will be busy but exciting,” said Dermody.