Hospital sales tax referendum set for Jan. 12

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Once the New Year's celebrations are over, Pawhuska voters will need to prepare for their first election of 2021.

Pawhuska voters will be called upon Tuesday, Jan. 12, to decide a 1 cent sales tax referendum. The proposed tax would be collected in support of Pawhuska Hospital, which is a nonprofit entity owned by the city.

For voters wishing to cast absentee ballots in the Jan. 12 election, the ballot application deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5.

According to the Osage County Election Board, voters may submit applications for absentee ballots by email, fax or U.S. mail. Voters may also fill out and electronically submit an online version of the ballot application form at Voters may request and cast absentee ballots without stating a reason.

If voters have questions about absentee ballots or other matters related to casting their ballots in the Jan. 12 special election, they may call the Osage County Election Board at 918-287-3036.

Representatives of the Pawhuska Hospital have said the 1 cent sales tax, which would likely result in the collection of more than $400,000 annually, would help to ensure the long-term financial survival of the hospital. The enactment of the tax would help provide the hospital with greater financial flexibility and demonstrate community buy-in to the survival of the 25-bed, critical-access facility, hospital representatives said. 

The proposed sales tax for the Pawhuska Hospital will be the only thing on the ballot for Pawhuska voters on Jan. 12.

Feb. 9 Elections

In addition to the Jan. 12, sales tax referendum, Pawhuska voters will be called upon to participate Feb. 9 in three City Council elections and a Pawhuska Board of Education election.

If you are a Pawhuska resident but are not registered to vote, the deadline to complete your registration if you wish to participate in the Feb. 9 elections is Jan. 15.

Kelly Chouteau, secretary of the Osage County Election Board, said that Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the Election Board office, located at 630 Kihekah Ave, Pawhuska, and at most post offices, tag agencies, and public libraries in the county.

Chouteau said that applications also are available at the Election Board's website,, or the state website,, and voters can check their registration status at