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Today is Election Day: Read The Daily’s State Question breakdown on page 3 The University of Oklahoma’s independent student voice since 1916 Tuesday, November 2, 2010 Free — additional copies 25¢ Boren not in ethics violation, commission says Public officials have same freedom of speech as private citizens under current ethics laws, director says CHASE COOK The Oklahoma Daily OU President David Boren and OSU President Burns Hargis are not in violation of the state ethics laws, and the Oklahoma Ethics Commission has not received a formal complaint from the Yes on SQ 744 group, the commission director said Monday. Marilyn Hughes, Oklahoma Ethics Commission executive director, cited an ethics interpretation for a rule that afforded public officials the same free speech rights as citizens. The interpretation was originally submitted for the governor’s office, but Hughes implied it applied to the university presidents as well. “They are the presidents 24 hours a day,” Hughes said. “They are allowed to speak out for, or against, issues or candidates.” OU has not been contacted by anyone regarding the issue, university spokesman Chris Shilling said. Boren acted on his own time and did not use public funds while speaking about SQ 744, Shilling said. Yes on SQ 744 spokesman Walton Robinson defended the campaign’s lack of action. Campaign officials have not contacted the commission yet because they are pursuing all possible courses of action, Robinson said. “The larger issue is abuse of taxpayer’s money,” Robinson said. The Yes on SQ 744 campaign accused Boren and Hargis of violating a state statute that rules public funds cannot be used to advocate for or against a ballot measure or candidate. The accusations started Friday, when Robinson sent a press release stating his group would be contacting the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. The campaign cited Boren’s press conference and an ad in the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman as violation examples. The issue on the ballot State Question 744 is on this year’s ballot and will amend the Oklahoma Constitution to align Oklahoma’s common education budget with the regional average of per-pupil spending. Oklahoma spends $8,006 per-pupil, which is $1,408 less than the regional average, according to a 2008-2009 state investment report by the Oklahoma Department of Education. Midterm early voting turnout increases Professors from 2006 races, election board reports research global Voters avoid lines at the polls, anticipate election day absences by voting up to 3 days early TREVOR SHOFNER The Oklahoma Daily KATHARINE BAIN/THE DAILY Citizens cast early votes Friday afternoon at the Cleveland County Election Board, 641 E. Robinson St. More than 2,400 Cleveland County residents cast early ballots Friday, Saturday and Monday in the state’s midterm election. A LOOK AT WHAT’S NEW AT More than 2,400 Cleveland County residents cast their early ballots at the election board office, an increase in turnout from 2006’s midterm election. Registered voters had the opportunity to vote early from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. The election board offers these three days for every state and federal election to encourage voters who might not otherwise have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday, said Cleveland County Election Board employee Paula Roberts. “It’s best to avoid mid-morning or mid-afternoon,” Roberts said. “You want to avoid the 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. work rushes. It’s pretty easy to get in and out very fast this way if the voter’s familiar with the state questions.” The 2008 presidential election brought in about 3,000 early voters, and the election board expected less than half of that for this year’s midterm elections, she said. “Usually the people who vote early are the ones who are going to be out of town or live in a large precinct and don’t want to have to wait in long lines to vote,” Roberts said. No reasons are required, and those wishing to vote early must sign an oath at the election board office before receiving a ballot identical to those Election Day. “The voter is on the honor system,” Roberts said. “They just sign an oath saying they haven’t voted before and we check to make sure they’re registered.” Election board employees check the computers prior to the individual’s vote to detect potential fraud. “There have been several instances (of fraud), times when individuals have tried to vote early and then show up on Election Day to vote again or mail in an absentee ballot, but we catch them and turn them over to the District Attorney’s office,” Roberts said. The majority of the cases of attempted voter fraud turn out be “elderly people who just forgot,” he said. For early voting, the ballots are collected and secured each night when voting ends by the sheriff to ensure no tampering occurs. Oklahoma has a unified voting system, so the State Election Board rules require all counties to offer the early voting option. Each county has a bipartisan county board that oversees election night. THE OKLAHOMA DAILY Visit the multimedia section to see video of Monday’s abortion rally on the South Oval VOL. 96, NO. 53 © 2010 OU Publications Board Day one and you’re in the know INDEX Campus .............. 2 Classifieds .......... 4 Life & Arts ........... 5 Opinion .............. 3 Sports ................ 6 warming Institute receives $3 million grant to study microbial response to environmental changes DHARA SHETH The Oklahoma Daily OU researchers observing and analyzing ecosystem responses to global change received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The OU Institute for Environmental Genomics has partnered with researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Florida and the Georgia Institute of Technology to study microbial changes at two sites, said Jizhong Zhou, Institute for Environmental Genomics director. “We will use metagenomic technology such as high-throughput sequencing and gene chips to look at how communities change,” said Zhou, microbiology professor. The researchers will use mathematic tools to simulate and predict changes in the future, focusing on two sites — one in Oklahoma and one in Alaska. “We have been performing global warming experiments in Oklahoma for 12 years,” said Yiqi Luo, OU ecologist and professor of botany and microbiology. The researchers simulate global warming by hanging heaters 1.5 meters above the ecosystems, raising the temperature by 3 to 4 degrees. “This experiment has found that global warming affects plants in a global community,” Luo said. Humans release 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide, otherwise known as greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere, which causes global warming. Scientists predict global temperature will increase by 7 degrees, so the Institute for Environmental G e n o m i c s ’s p r o j e c t s a i m a t SEE RESEARCH PAGE 2 TODAY’S WEATHER 64°| 41° Wednesday: Sunny, high of 67 degrees Visit the Oklahoma Weather Lab at

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