Voters may apply early for absentee ballots for Feb. 9

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Voters in Osage County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the Feb. 9 City of Pawhuska Municipal Primary, Pawhuska I-2 Board of Education Primary, and Caney Valley I-18 Board of Education Special Elections should apply now, Osage County Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau said.

Although the county election board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, Chouteau urged voters to apply early. 

Absentee ballot application forms are available at the Osage County Election Board office at 630 Kihekah Ave. in 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 at http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.

Ballots must be in the hands of Osage 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 at the above website address, or via an agent who is at least 16 years old 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 or via an agent who is at least 16 years old 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 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 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 Feb. 9 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 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 at OsageCounty@elections.ok.gov or visit www.elections.ok.gov or www.osage.okcounties.org.