Voting tips offered by election board secretary
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 13, for the Shidler I-11 School Special Election. Osage County Election Board Secretary Andrea Conner offered voters tips on how to make their votes count.
Conner said that a valid ballot marking a filled-in box (in either blue or black ballpoint ink) is important. If voters make mistakes marking their ballots, they should not try to correct those errors. Instead, a voter should return the spoiled ballot to precinct officials, who will destroy it and issue a new ballot to the voter.
Conner also urged voters to take their voter identification cards with them to the polls. “Your voter ID card (issued by the County Election Board) can help precinct officials find your name in the Precinct Registry, and it may help them resolve the problem if you are not listed in the Registry for some reason.” Alternatively, voters can bring an unexpired photo ID card issued by the U.S. government, the state of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized tribal government.
Voters without ID, or whose names are not found in the Precinct Registry, or voters who disagree with the information shown in the Registry, may always cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is sealed in a special envelope and counted after election day if the voter’s information can be verified by the County Election Board.
Conner said that voters who want to get through the line quickly should vote at mid-morning or mid-afternoon, because those usually are the two slowest periods.
“Anyone who is eligible and in line at the polling place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday will be entitled to vote,” the Osage County Election Board Secretary added.
Following is a list of the precinct polling places in the Shidler I-11 School Special Election on January 13:
Precinct 103 – Shidler Community Building, 269 S Cosden, Shidler
Precinct 105 – McCord Senior Citizens, 115 Mary Road, Ponca City
Precinct 106 – Burbank Town Hall, 105 S First St, Burbank
Precinct 113 – Grainola Methodist Church, 33862 State Hwy 18, Grainola
Conner also advised voters, candidates, campaign officials, and volunteers to be very aware of and careful to not violate state election laws next Tuesday.
Conner said that all known election law violations will be reported to the proper law enforcement authorities, usually the County Sheriff and District Attorney. “Our precinct officials are going to be watching very closely on election day for illegal electioneering by candidates, zealous campaign staff, and their volunteers. It’s unlawful in Osage County and across the State of Oklahoma to electioneer within 300 feet of a ballot box.
To electioneer means to work for or against election of a particular candidate, political party, or issue. “This includes the illegal placement of any campaign signs inside the 300 feet boundary limit away from the ballot box,” reminded Conner.
Election law violations sometimes committed accidentally by voters include disclosing how one voted while within the election enclosure or removing a ballot from the polling place. Other violations by voters include taking a ballot into or out of the polling place or taking intoxicating liquors within half a mile of a polling location. It is unlawful for any person to disclose how he or she voted to any other person while inside the election enclosure. Conner said it also is against the law for anyone other than voters waiting in line to vote and for precinct or other election officials to be within 50 feet of a ballot box during the election.
Citizens can find these and other state election laws in Title 26 of the Oklahoma Statutes. For more about this topic and other Oklahoma election-related information, please visit http://www.elections.ok.gov/.
Registered voters in Osage County who become physically incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 6, won’t have to miss the January 13 Shidler I-11 School Special Election, County Election Board Secretary Andrea Conner said today.
Conner explained that state law permits registered voters who will be unable to go to the polls because they became incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 6, to vote on an emergency basis. “Physical incapacitation” includes a variety of conditions injury, illness, childbirth that prevent a person from voting in person at the polls on election day.
Aside from unplanned emergencies, “state law also allows a registered voter who is physically incapacitated on an ongoing basis or a person who is charged with the care of a physically incapacitated person who cannot be left unattended to submit an application for absentee ballot by an agent.”
The agent may be any person of the voter’s choosing 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. Also, a person may serve as an agent for only one person at any election, Conner explained.
“If you think that you or someone you know fits into this category, please contact the Osage County Election Board office as soon as possible for more information.”
Registered voters in Osage County who want to vote by mail absentee ballot in next Tuesday’s Shidler I-11 School Special Elections have until this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. to request one, Conner said today.
“If absentee voters miss Wednesday’s deadline, they aren’t out of luck, however,” Conner said.
Voters who want to cast absentee ballots still can do so in person at the County Election Board office on Thursday, January 8 or Friday, January 9. A two-member, bipartisan Absentee Voting Board will be on duty each day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday to assist absentee voters.
“In-person absentee voters fill out an application form when they get to the office. They are not required to give any reason for voting absentee,” Conner said. “They are required to swear that they have not voted a regular mail absentee ballot and that they will not vote at their polling place on election day.”
Voters who have requested an absentee ballot can track their ballot using the Oklahoma State Election Board’s Online Voter Tool available at http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.
According to Conner, the Absentee Voting Board verifies a voter’s registration information. Then, the Board issues all the appropriate ballots to the voter. The voter marks the ballots in a voting booth and then casts them in the voting device. “It is very much like voting at a precinct polling place.”
For more information, contact the Osage County Election Board, located at 630 Kihekah Ave., Pawhuska, phone number is 918-287-3036.