Hominy man charged with voting twice

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

In what might as well be a timely reminder to be careful to follow state election laws, Osage County prosecutors last Friday brought a formal felony charge of voting illegally against a Hominy man.

Prosecutors charged a suspect identified as Robert Davis III with voting twice in the Aug. 28 election. A warrant for his arrest was issued, according to a court record.

According to an affidavit submitted to the court by Travis Q. Foster, an investigator for the District Attorney’s office, the Osage County Election Board on Sept. 10 notified the district attorney’s office about illegal voting activity.

Foster’s affidavit says the county Election Board on May 31 received an application for an absentee ballot for the Aug. 28 election. On July 30, the Election Board reportedly received Davis’ ballot and his signed affidavit.

Then, on Aug. 28, Davis appeared in person at 202 South Price in Hominy, and received and cast another ballot for the Aug. 28 election, according to Foster.

On Aug. 28, Davis signed an affidavit swearing he had not already voted by mail, Foster related to the court.

As a result, the Election Board determined Davis had voted twice in the Aug. 28 election.

Statewide and local elections are slated Tuesday in Osage County. The local Election Board has issued guidance for voters intending to participate in those elections.

Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau said in her latest guidance statement that all known election law violations will be reported to the proper law enforcement authorities, usually the 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 Chouteau said. It is unlawful in Osage County and across the state to electioneer within 300 feet of a ballot box, she said.

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,” Chouteau said.

She added that 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. She 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.

Chouteau said that citizens 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.