Election Board official explains voter ID law
The “voter ID” law, which was approved by 74 percent of Oklahoma voters in 2010, requires all registered voters to show proof of identity in order to vote at the polling place on election day or to vote early at the County Election Board office, according to Andrea Conner, Osage County Election Board secretary.
The law is very specific about the kind of document that can be used for proof of identity.
“Any item used for proof of identity for voting must have been issued by the federal government, the State of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized tribal government,” Conner said.
In addition, the proof of identity must show the name of the person to whom it was issued, a photograph of the person, and must include an expiration date that is after the election date.
The law also states that the person’s name on a document used for proof of identity for voting must “substantially conform” to the person’s name in the precinct registry.
Some documents that may be presented as proof of identity for voting include an Oklahoma driver license, a state identification card, a passport, or a military identification.
“Voters also may use the voter identification card they received by mail when they registered to vote,” Conner said.
These cards are allowed even though they do not include a photograph or an expiration date.
“The voter identification card is provided to every voter free of charge when they register to vote. Replacement cards are also free of charge,” she said.
By law, state identification cards issued to persons who are 65 years old or older do not have expiration dates but are valid proof of identity for voting.
Voters whose full legal name is on both their proof of identity and on their voter registration record should have no problem at the polls. However, voters whose names have changed due to marriage or divorce and voters who may have registered to vote under a nickname or a variation of their full legal name may encounter difficulties.
“Voters who don’t have proof of identity, or whose name on the voter registration record does not match the name on their proof of identity, will have to vote by provisional ballot,” Conner said.
A provisional ballot is sealed inside an envelope instead of being inserted into the voting device. Information provided by the voter on an affidavit is investigated by election officials in the days following the election, and the ballot is either approved for counting or is rejected based on the outcome of that investigation.
Conner said, “I want to encourage all registered voters in Osage County to verify that they have registered to vote using the same name that appears on their driver license or other primary form of identification or by always using the voter identification card issued by the County Election Board.”
In order to verify voter registration information, voters may contact the Osage County Election Board at 918-287-3036.
A voter who wants to change his or her name on their voter registration record must fill out and mail a new Oklahoma Voter Registration Application form. The form is available online at http://www.elections.ok.gov/, at all tag agencies, and at most libraries and post offices in Oklahoma. Voter registration applications may be submitted at any time, but must be received at least 24 days before an election for the change to be in effect for the election.