Temporary ballot verification provision expires

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Vote

A temporary absentee ballot verification option that was put in place by state legislators last year has expired.

The temporary verification option was part of Senate Bill 210, which was passed in the spring of 2020 in response to the pandemic. The bill gave Oklahoma voters the option to include a copy of their valid ID in lieu of a notarized or witnessed signature on their absentee ballot affidavit. Certain provisions of the bill were valid for the 2020 election year only and expired in December.

Osage County Election Board Secretary Chouteau said voters who request absentee ballots in 2021 will receive updated absentee ballot instructions with their balloting material and should read them thoroughly before placing their ballot in the mail.

According to Chouteau, “standard” absentee ballot affidavits are required to be notarized. “Physically incapacitated” absentee ballot affidavits must have the voter’s signature witnessed by two people.

“In other words, voters will submit their absentee ballots the same way they did prior to Senate Bill 210. As always, we recommend voters allow themselves plenty of time to receive, vote, and return their ballots.” Chouteau said.

Voters can request absentee ballots online using the OK Voter Portal on the State Election Board website at oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp.html or pick up an application from the County Election Board. A list of notaries can be found on the State Election Board website at https://oklahoma.gov/elections/voter-info/absentee-voting/notary-services.html.

For more information, voters can contact the Osage Election Board at 918-287-3036 or Osagecounty@elections.ok.gov. The Election Board is located at 630 Kihekah Ave., Pawhuska.  Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.