Oklahoma election officials downplay effect of a seventh and final game in the NBA Finals

If a seventh game is necessary between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, it would take place June 26 when Oklahoma voters go to the polls. The game would start about an hour after polls close.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: June 14, 2012

Oklahoma election officials are hoping the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat doesn't go to a seventh and final game.

If needed, the seventh game is scheduled for June 26, when Democrats and Republicans in Oklahoma head to the polls to vote for various local, state and federal offices. The NBA Finals is a best-of-seven series.

“I'm not worried about it either way, I think it will be over in five or six games,” state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said.

A seventh game shouldn't be a problem for voters because the polls close at 7 p.m., an hour before the game is scheduled to start, he said. People also can vote before the possible seventh game by casting an absentee ballot or by voting early in person at their county election board offices.

“From the perspective of voters, I don't really think there's a problem at all,” he said. “Our polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Polls close a full hour before tipoff so fans of the Thunder who also want to do their civic duty by voting will have plenty of time to do that on Election Day. Any fans who are concerned about that, of course, can vote by absentee or take advantage of the early voting that starts prior to the election.”

Absentee deadline

The deadline to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail is June 20. Voters may vote early on the Friday, Saturday and Monday before the June 26 primary elections.

Only registered Republican and Democratic voters may cast ballots in the June 26 elections. Only one statewide race — a seat on the state's utility-regulating body — is on the ballot and that involves two GOP candidates. Various primary races involving legislative and county candidates will be decided that day.

The closest voting precinct to the Chesapeake Energy Arena is First Church, which is several blocks north and west of the Thunder's home court, so the increased activity downtown if there is a seventh game shouldn't be a problem, Oklahoma County Election Board Secretary Doug Sanderson said.

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