PARTY AFFILIATION


March 31 is deadline to make changes


Oklahomans who want to change their party affiliation must submit their changes no later than March 31, 2020, Osage County Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau said. Voters may change their party affiliation online using the OK Voter Portal at elections.ok.gov/ovp, or by completing a new Voter Registration Application.


Chouteau said voters should understand that no party changes are allowed between April 1 and August 31 during an even-numbered year.


“If we receive your request after March 31, we are required by law to hold that request and process it in September,” Chouteau said.


Oklahoma has three (3) recognized parties: Democrat, Republican and Libertarian.


In Oklahoma, voters must be a registered member of a party in order to vote in that party’s primary election. Independents are permitted to participate in a primary election, only if a party officially requests its elections be opened to Independent voters. Currently, only the Democratic Party allows Independents to vote in its primary elections. All registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, can vote for any candidate during a General Election.


Voter Registration Applications can be downloaded from the Oklahoma State Election Board website at: elections.ok.gov. Applications are also available at the Osage County Election Board office, 630 Kihekah Ave, Pawhuska, OK, but public access to the office has been temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus crisis. For questions, contact the County Election Board office at 918-287-3036 or email OsageCounty@elections.ok.gov.


CANDIDATE FILING


Filing window is April 8-10


Statewide election activity begins officially at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2020, when the official candidate filing period opens and ends at 5 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2020, Kelly Chouteau, secretary of the Osage County Election Board, said.


Candidates for state offices file with the secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board in Oklahoma City. Candidates for county offices file with the secretary of the County Election Board.


Chouteau said that the following county offices will be filled this year:


Court Clerk;


County Sheriff;


County Clerk;


County Commissioner for District 2.


For more election-related information, call the Osage County Election Board at 918-287-3036 or email OsageCounty@elections.ok.gov, visit www.elections.ok.gov or visit our website at www.osage.okcounties.org.


ELECTION OFFICE CLOSED


Public access ended until at least March 30


The Osage County Election Board closed to the public effective Monday, March 16, 2020, until Monday, March 30, 2020, after the Osage County commissioners held a meeting and voted to close all county offices to the public. The decision was made this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to limit public gatherings to 10 or fewer people in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).


The Osage County Election Board will continue to conduct business as usual by phone, email, and mail. Business hours may be modified due to the unusual circumstances, but calls and emails will be returned in a timely manner. Voters who need to conduct business in person can call or email the Osage County Election Board to make special arrangements.


Voters can also visit the Oklahoma State Election Board website at elections.ok.gov for more information. Those who need to request absentee ballots or make changes to their registration can continue to do so online through the OK Voter Portal at elections.ok.gov/OVP.


The Osage County Election Board is located at 630 Kihekah Ave, Pawhuska. For more information, contact the County Election Board at (918) 287-3036 or Osagecounty@elections.ok.gov.


CORONAVIRUS SCAMS


U.S. Attorney puts out warning


TULSA – As the United States Attorney’s Office continues its public safety mission, U.S. Attorney Trent Shores cautions the public to be aware of fraud schemes seeking to exploit the evolving COVID-19 public health crisis.


“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working with federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement partners to ensure mission critical operations continue and that public safety is guarded,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Unfortunately, as our community takes steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, there are fraudsters who would seek to exploit fear and anxiety during this public health crisis. Attorney General Barr charged U.S. Attorneys across our nation to hold accountable any profiteer seeking to exploit the public, and we will do so. Rest assured, my office is committed to pursuing justice for any Oklahoman victimized by a COVID-19 scam.”


Scammers have already devised numerous methods for defrauding people in connection with COVID-19. They are setting up websites, contacting people by phone and email, and posting disinformation on social media platforms. Some examples of scams linked to COVID-19 include:


Treatment scams: Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19.


Supply scams: Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.


Provider scams: Scammers are also contacting people by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.


Charity scams: Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.


Phishing scams: Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.


App scams: Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.


Investment scams: Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.


False bank claims: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has reported an uptick in fraudulent calls, text messages, letters and emails from scammers pretending to be FDIC employees. The scammers falsely claim that banks are limiting access to deposits or that there are security issues with bank deposits. The scammers, along with trying to create distrust, are also after bank account and other personal information. The FDIC does not send unsolicited correspondence asking for money or sensitive personal information. It never will contact people asking for personal details, such as bank account information, credit and debit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or passwords.


The public can take the following steps to help protect themselves against these scams:


Independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.