Voting in Oklahoma’s presidential primary begins

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Registered voters of Payne County may cast their Super Tuesday ballots early at the Payne County Election Board this week.

In-person absentee voting, commonly known as early voting, will be available at the Payne County election board Thursday through Saturday. The election board will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to in-person absentee voting, registered voters in Oklahoma have the option of requesting an absentee ballot through the mail. The deadline to request mail absentee ballots was Wednesday, and the ballots must be received by the county election board by 7 p.m. March 3.

All registered Payne County voters have the opportunity to participate in this election in regards to a Payne County resolution reforming the county’s alcohol laws. Only voters registered as Democrats, Republicans or Independents may participate in the Presidential Primary. Democrats and Independents may vote in the Democratic primary, while only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary.

Dondee Klein, secretary at the Payne County Election Board, said early voting is for everyone, not just people who can’t make it out to the polls on Super Tuesday.

“A lot of times, people will say ‘this line is a lot less than the one at my polling place,’” Klein said. “You do not have to have a reason to do that, to vote early or by mail. Either one of those are just for your convenience.”

Voters who wanted to vote by mail applied for an absentee ballot on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website or filled out an application in person at the county election board.

Absentee ballots, whether cast by mail or in person, are the first ballots counted in the election.

“When we get the numbers off of our machine, it counts the absentees as a precinct,” Klein said. “They’re the first ones counted on election night, because they’re ready at seven, where the other polls are just closing down at seven.”

The last opportunity to cast a ballot in this election will be on Super Tuesday, March 3, at designated polling locations. Voters can check their registration and find their polling place through the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website.

news.ed@ocolly.com