Voters can prepare now for 2022 elections

Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Osage County voters who want to cast ballots in elections this year, but desire to avoid potential inconveniences and complications related to voting in person, can apply now for absentee ballots for all 2022 elections in which they are qualified to participate.

Voters in Osage County who want absentee ballots mailed to them for elections in 2022 should apply now, county Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau said in a news release.

Any registered voter may request absentee ballots for a specific election or for a full calendar year. No excuse is needed to vote by absentee ballot. Chouteau said there are many ways to apply.

“For many voters, the easiest way to apply is online through the state Election Board’s OK Voter Portal. Voters can also fill out an application at the county Election Board or simply write us a letter,” Chouteau said.

If you choose to write a letter, it must contain the following information:

Your name, residential address, and signature;

Date of birth;

Address where you want your ballots mailed;

Whether or not you are physically incapacitated; and

List of elections for which you are requesting absentee ballots (you may only request ballots for elections in which you are eligible to vote).

Chouteau said voters who are in nursing homes, voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for persons who cannot be left unattended should mention these restrictions in their request. This information activates special procedures that make voting and returning absentee ballots easier.

Voters can request absentee ballots electronically using the OK Voter Portal at oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp. To download a paper application, visit the state Election Board website at oklahoma.gov/elections. For more information on absentee voting, contact the Osage County Election Board at (918) 287-3036 or Osagecounty@elections.ok.gov

Additionally, Pawhuska residents who are not registered to vote but would like to become registered voters face a deadline related to 2022 municipal elections.

Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the Feb. 8, 2022, City of Pawhuska Municipal Primary & Bowring C00757 Board of Education special elections.

This deadline applies to persons who are not already registered voters. If you are already registered at your current address, there is no need to re-register.

Chouteau said that persons 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, Jan. 14, 2022.

Chouteau explained that applications postmarked after that time will still be accepted and processed; however, the applications will not be approved until after Feb. 8, 2022.

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 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 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 county board's 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/.