ABSENTEE BALLOTS

Voters in Osage County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the Feb. 13, city of Pawhuska nonpartisan primary and Pawhuska I-2 annual school elections should apply now, County Election Board Secretary Andrea Conner said.

Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on Feb. 7, Conner urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early.

Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office, 630 Kihekah Ave, Pawhuska, Oklahoma. An online version of the form can be filled out and submitted electronically at: www.elections.ok.gov. A print form can also be downloaded at that address.

Voters who have requested an absentee ballot can track their ballot at http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.

Ballots must be in the hands of County Election Board officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Conner said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he/she is eligible to vote. However, a voter must be registered and reside at an address within the geographical boundaries of the city of Pawhuska and the Pawhuska I-2 School to be eligible to vote in either of the elections. It is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.

“While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several excuses, and it is to the advantage of some voters to use one of them,” Conner said.

By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, absentee voters can activate special conditions that make it easier for them to use absentee ballots. The reasons are:

Voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may vote absentee. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online by accessing http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/ or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.

Voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may vote absentee. An Absentee Voting Board actually goes to the nursing home a few days before the election, sets up a small polling place and allows these persons to vote under circumstances similar to those at a regular precinct polling place. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online by accessing http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/ or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.

Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and the spouses and dependents of each group are eligible receive absentee ballots. These voters may apply only by mail, fax, or by email. Military personnel should contact the Voting Service Officers in their units for application forms and additional information or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website (www.fvap.gov/oklahoma) for more information and instructions. Residents of Oklahoma living overseas can obtain the same materials from any United States military installation and from United States Embassies and Consulates as well as on the FVAP website.

Sample ballots are now available on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s Online Voter Tool at http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/ or at www.osage.okcounties.org for voters who want to get a preview of what will be at stake in the February 13, 2018, City of Pawhuska Nonpartisan Primary and the Pawhuska I-2 Annual School Elections. Sample ballots are also available at the Osage County Election Board office. Andrea Conner, Secretary of the Osage County Election Board, said that sample ballots can be viewed at the Election Board office, located at 630 Kihekah Ave. in Pawhuska, during regular office hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sample ballots also will be posted outside the precinct polling place on Tuesday so that voters can review them before casting their votes.

For more election-related information, call the Osage County Election Board at (918) 287-3036, e-mail at oceb@sbcglobal.net or visit www.elections.ok.gov or www.osage.okcounties.org.

SCHOOL ELECTION CHANGES

Osage County Election Board Secretary Andrea Conner recently announced the Pawhuska I-2 School District has opted to close Precincts 102, 103, 110, 111, 113, 301 and 306 in Osage County for its annual school election scheduled on Feb. 13.

State law allows a city to close a precinct if it’s not entirely within the city’s boundaries and if there are fewer than 100 registered voters in that part of the precinct that is located in the school district. There are 25 voters in precinct 102, two voters in precinct 103, 33 voters in precinct 110, two voters in precinct 111, 0 voters in precinct 113, three voters in precinct 301 and one voter in precinct 306 that are located in the Pawhuska I-2 school district.

Any registered voters in Precincts 102, 103, 110, 111, 113, 301 and 306 who believe that he or she may reside in the Pawhuska I-2 School District and who have not yet received an absentee ballot application from the County Election Board should call the office immediately at (918) 287-3036 or email oceb@sbcglobal.net.

FREE RADON KITS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as National Radon Action Month. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is working with EPA in a nationwide campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage people to take action to protect their homes and families.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium inside the earth. Radon is dispersed in outdoor air, but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. Scientists have long been concerned about the health risk of radon, but never before has there been such overwhelming evidence that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans.

EPA estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and free. EPA estimates that 1 in every 15 homes nationwide has a high radon level at or above the recommended radon action level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air.