Deadline approaching: Thousands of Oklahomans applying for absentee ballots

OKLAHOMA CITY — Thousands of people are skipping out on the long lines on Election Day and choosing to vote via absentee ballot.  However, those at the Oklahoma County Election Board want to make sure first time voters understand the process.

Madeline Maples didn’t want to miss out on her first election, but the drive back home from college would have made it hard for the 18-year-old to vote.

“I live in Choctaw, so it’s about 50 minutes from campus, so I didn’t want to have to drive,” said Maples.

Therefore, she chose a different option.

“I just went online and someone sent me a link to it, and you just put in your information and they send it to you in the mail,” said Maples.

Maples is one of thousands of Oklahomans choosing to vote via an absentee ballot for this upcoming election.

“I think we’re up to about 26,000 that applied, we got 6,000 or 8,000 of those backs,” said Doug Sanderson, secretary of the Oklahoma County Election Board.

Sanderson said the deadline to apply for absentee ballots is quickly approaching.

“Yesterday, we made three runs to the post office, just taking absentee ballots so we can get them out of our office, get them to voters as quickly as possible,” he said.

If you haven’t received your ballot after applying, Sanderson says you need to contact your county election board immediately.

“Call us because if you’re concerned about it, call us,” Sanderson said. He adds that you can also go to the state’s website and follow the progress of your ballot.

Maples received her ballot in the mail in no time, now she says she can’t wait to send it off to cast her first vote.

“Your voice matters, like everyone’s vote matters,” said Maples. “A lot of people have the opportunity to vote and they should take it.”

Before mailing your standard absentee ballot, it has to be notarized. You can also bring the standard ballot into the election office, but you can only turn it in with your valid state ID.

This does not apply to those filling out other absentee ballots. Those living in a nursing home or have a caregiver must mail in their ballots.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Wednesday, Oct. 31 by 5 p.m. Many people have already applied for their ballots and are currently in the process of mailing them back.

An absentee ballot must be received by the county election board before 7 p.m. on election day, November 6, to be counted.

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