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Voters may request absentee ballots now for Nov. 3 elections

Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Voters in Osage County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the Nov. 3, 2020, general elections may apply now, according to Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau.

That's right. You may apply immediately. You can fill out a form online and have a ballot sent to you, or you can find a copy of the application form online, print it out and submit it.

If you have questions, call 918-287-3036 and talk to a member of the Election Board's staff to get the information you need.

Although the Osage County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, Chouteau urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early. 

Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 630 Kihekah Ave., Pawhuska. 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 electronically 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.

Chouteau said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he/she is eligible to vote. 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,” Chouteau 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 to 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 (FVAP) 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 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 Nov. 3 general elections.

Sample ballots are also available at the Osage County Election Board office. Chouteau said that sample ballots can be viewed at the Election Board office during regular office hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sample ballots also will be posted outside the precinct polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 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 the Election Board at OsageCounty@elections.ok.gov or visit www.elections.ok.gov or www.osage.okcounties.org

VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS OCT. 9

Friday, Oct. 9 is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 3 general elections, Chouteau said.

Chouteau said that people who are United States citizens, residents of Oklahoma, and at least 18 years old may apply to become registered voters.

Persons who have never been registered to vote before or who are not currently registered in the county of their residence and persons who are registered but who need to change their registration information may apply by filling out and mailing an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application form in time for it to be postmarked no later than midnight Friday, Oct. 9.

Chouteau explained that applications postmarked after that time will still be accepted and processed; however, the applications will not be approved until after Nov. 3.

The County Election Board responds in writing to every person who submits an application for voter registration. The response is either a voter identification card listing the new voter's precinct number and polling place location or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved. Chouteau said that any person who has submitted a voter registration application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the Osage County Election Board office at 918-287-3036 or email OsageCounty@elections.ok.gov.

Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the County Election Board office and at most post offices, tag agencies, and public libraries in the county. Chouteau said that applications also are available at our website www.osage.okcounties.org or the state website www.elections.ok.gov, and voters can check their registration status at www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.