Tips for elections

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, for Pawhuska I-2 annual school runoff, Barnsdall I-29 school special, Avant C-35 school special and Sperry I-8 school special elections.

Osage County Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau offered voters tips on how to make their votes count.

Chouteau said that a valid ballot marking a filled-in box (in either blue or black ballpoint ink) is important. If voters make mistakes marking their ballots, they should not try to correct those errors. Instead, a voter should return the spoiled ballot to precinct officials, who will destroy it and issue a new ballot to the voter.

Chouteau also urged voters to take their voter identification cards with them to the polls. “Your voter ID card (issued by the County Election Board) can help precinct officials find your name in the Precinct Registry, and it may help them resolve the problem if you are not listed in the Registry for some reason,” she said.

Alternatively, voters can bring an unexpired photo ID card issued by the U.S. government, the state of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized tribal government.

Voters without ID, or whose names are not found in the Precinct Registry, or voters who disagree with the information shown in the Registry, may always cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is sealed in a special envelope and counted after election day if the voter’s information can be verified by the County Election Board.

Chouteau said voters who want to get through the line quickly should vote at mid-morning or mid-afternoon, because those usually are the two slowest periods.

“Anyone who is eligible and in line at the polling place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, will be entitled to vote,” the Osage County Election Board Secretary added.

Following is a list of the precinct polling places in the April 3, 2018, elections:

Pawhuska I-2 Annual School Runoff Election:

Precinct 107 – Presbyterian Church, 101 E 12th St, Pawhuska

Precinct 108 – Calvary Baptist Church, 620 E 15th St, Pawhuska

Barnsdall I-29 School Special Election:

Precinct 102 – Strikeaxe Non-Profit Water Office, 811 CR 2425, Okesa

Precinct 109 – Osage Hills School, 225 CR 2706, Bartlesville

Precinct 110 – Barnsdall City Hall/PSO Building, 409 W Main, Barnsdall

Precinct 112 – Avant Community Center, 306 S Havens, Avant

Avant C-35 School Special Election:

Precinct 109 – Osage Hills School, 225 CR 2706, Bartlesville

Precinct 110 – Barnsdall City Hall/PSO Building, 409 W Main, Barnsdall

Precinct 112 – Avant Community Center, 306 S Havens, Avant

Precinct 201 – Church of Christ Annex, 1900 W Rogers Blvd, Skiatook

Precinct 203 – First Baptist Church, 825 W Rogers Blvd, Skiatook

Sperry I-8 School Special Election:

Precinct 203 – First Baptist Church, 825 W Rogers Blvd, Skiatook

Precinct 204 – Country Corner Fire Station, 6983 W 113st St N, Sperry

Precinct 205 – Black Dog Fire Station, 495 N 52nd W Ave, Tulsa

Chouteau also advised voters, candidates, campaign officials, and volunteers to be very aware of and careful to not violate state election laws Tuesday.

Chouteau said that all known election law violations will be reported to the proper law enforcement authorities, usually the County Sheriff and District Attorney. Precinct officials will be watching very closely on election day for illegal electioneering by candidates, zealous campaign staff, and their volunteers. It’s unlawful in Osage County and across the State of Oklahoma to electioneer within 300 feet of a ballot box.

To electioneer means to work for or against election of a particular candidate, political party, or issue. “This includes the illegal placement of any campaign signs inside the 300 feet boundary limit away from the ballot box,” reminded Chouteau.

Election law violations sometimes committed accidentally by voters include disclosing how one voted while within the election enclosure or removing a ballot from the polling place. Other violations by voters include taking a ballot into or out of the polling place or taking intoxicating liquors within half a mile of a polling location. It is unlawful for any person to disclose how he or she voted to any other person while inside the election enclosure. Chouteau said it also is against the law for anyone other than voters waiting in line to vote and for precinct or other election officials to be within 50 feet of a ballot box during the election.

Residents can find these and other state election laws in Title 26 of the Oklahoma Statutes. For more about this topic and other Oklahoma election-related information, please visit www.elections.ok.gov.

Registered voters in Osage County who become physically incapacitated after 5 p.m. March 27, won’t have to miss the April 3, 2018, Pawhuska I-2 Annual School Runoff, Barnsdall I-29 School Special, Avant C-35 School Special and Sperry I-8 School Special Elections County Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau said today.

Chouteau explained that state law permits registered voters who will be unable to go to the polls because they became incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, 2018, to vote on an emergency basis. “Physical incapacitation” includes a variety of conditions injury, illness, childbirth that prevent a person from voting in person at the polls on election day.

Aside from unplanned emergencies, “state law also allows a registered voter who is physically incapacitated on an ongoing basis or a person who is charged with the care of a physically incapacitated person who cannot be left unattended to submit an application for absentee ballot by an agent.”

The agent may be any person of the voter’s choosing who is at leasst 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. Also, a person may serve as an agent for only one person at any election, Chouteau explained.

“If you think that you or someone you know fits into this category, please contact the Osage County Election Board office as soon as possible for more information.”

Registered voters in Osage County who want to vote by mail absentee ballot in next Tuesday’s General Election have until 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, to request one, Chouteau said.

“If absentee voters miss Wednesday’s deadline, they aren’t out of luck, however,” Chouteau said.

Voters who want to cast absentee ballots still can do so in person at the County Election Board office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday or Friday. A two-member, bipartisan absentee voting board will be on duty each day to assist absentee voters.

“In-person absentee voters fill out an application form when they get to the office. They are not required to give any reason for voting absentee,” Chouteau said. “They are required to swear that they have not voted a regular mail absentee ballot and that they will not vote at their polling place on election day.”

Voters who have requested an absentee ballot can track their ballot using the Oklahoma State Election Board’s Online Voter Tool available at www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.

According to Chouteau, the Absentee Voting Board verifies a voter’s registration information. Then, the Board issues all the appropriate ballots to the voter. The voter marks the ballots in a voting booth and then casts them in the voting device. “It is very much like voting at a precinct polling place.”

Sample ballots are now available on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s Online Voter Tool at www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/ and on our website www.osage.okcounties.org for voters who want to get a preview of what will be at stake in the April 3, 2018, Pawhuska I-2 Annual School Runoff, Barnsdall I-29 School Special, Avant C-35 School Special and Sperry I-8 School Special Elections.

Sample ballots are also available at the Osage County Election Board office.

Kelly Chouteau, Secretary of the Osage County Election Board, said that sample ballots can be viewed at the Election Board office, located at 630 Kihekah Ave. in Pawhuska, OK, during regular office hours, 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Sample ballots also will be posted outside every 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, visit www.elections.ok.gov or our website at www.osage.okcounties.org.