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Early voting to be held April 1 and 2 for municipal elections

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Voting booths

Empty voting booths for the 2020 United States Presidential election on Nov. 3.

Early voting for the April 6 municipal elections will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 1 through 2 at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds.

Cleveland County Election Board Secretary Bryant Rains wrote in an email that early voting is open to all voters.

“You do not need to provide an excuse to vote early,” Rains said. “Oklahoma allows early voting for all elections conducted through the State Election Board — from school board and municipal elections to state and federal elections. This is a great option for those who will be out of town on Election Day or who want to avoid long lines.”

Normanites will have an opportunity to vote in the Ward 3 Norman City Council runoff election and a City of Norman proposition for a $27 million bond to fund the reconstruction of streets in the city. 

Ward 3 Councilmember Alison Petrone and candidate Kelly Lynn are running for the seat after Petrone received 40.34 percent of the vote to Lynn’s 30.24 in the Feb. 10 municipal elections. Ward 3 was the only Norman ward to result in a runoff. 

Petrone, an OU alumna, studied political science as an undergraduate before receiving her law degree from OU in 2003. She won the Ward 3 seat in 2019, beating out Richard Bailey — 1,548 to 1,365 votes.

Petrone supported the city council’s decision to cut $865,000 from a proposed increase of the Norman Police Department's budget in June 2020, after people told stories of abuse from the NPD at a City Council meeting. The vote resulted in backlash from Unite Norman, and Petrone was one of multiple councilmembers the Norman organization filed recall petitions against July 10. 

“What (the council) did hear were stories after stories of personal, deep experiences of people in our community who were crying out for justice,” Petrone said in a Jan. 28 interview with The Daily. “And, even to this day, when I'm knocking doors, people are so grateful that we did not turn our backs on the desperation that was presenting itself to us.”

Kelly Lynn, backed by an endorsement from Unite Norman, said in a Jan. 20 interview with The Daily he served in the Oklahoma National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2017. Lynn said he moved to Norman from southeastern Oklahoma in 2010. 

Lynn said he opposes the city council’s decision to cut funds from the proposed budget increase for the NPD and said it was one of the reasons he decided to get into local politics. 

“I have some very fine friends in law enforcement from federal down to local base tops … and I respect what they do,” Lynn said in an interview with The Daily. “When we bring (defunding) to this city, I just don't believe that the majority of people want that or even agree with that.”

Norman residents will also vote on the authorization of $27 million worth of “resurfacing, rehabilitation and reconstruction of neighborhood streets” for the next five years.  

Per the City of Norman website, Norman residents voted in 2005 to authorize the city’s first five-year Street Maintenance Bond Program, and have been able to vote on the bond program every five years. The bond prevents an increase in the rise of property tax levels. The bond program will continue to be funded by a flat property tax rate of $5.75 from residents with homes that are about $100,000 in market value.

The program is divided into four categories: Urban Asphalt Rehabilitation, Urban Concrete Rehabilitation, Rural Road Rehabilitation and Urban Street Reconstruction. Per the website, $20.8 million will go to urban asphalt, $4.2 million will go to reconstruction of the “worst streets in Norman” and $2 million will go towards preventive maintenance for at-risk roads. 

Caleb McCourry is an intern news reporter at The Daily and is a junior at OU majoring in English. Caleb has previously served as the sports desk's editor and assistant editor, covering football, basketball and volleyball. Caleb is a Norman native.

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