Oklahoma voting questions answered: What you should know before the election

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The general election is weeks away. Voting is in the spotlight this election because of more people voting by mail, which is raising questions about the process. 

KFOR wanted to set the record straight on a few hot topics: 

  • First up… Is it possible to vote more than once in Oklahoma? 

The Oklahoma State Election Board secretary, Paul Ziriax, quickly shut down that as a myth. 

“If you show up in person, and having requested an absentee ballot, you have to swear that you didn’t vote that absentee ballot, you didn’t submit it,” said Ziriax. “If you lie on that oath in an effort to get a ballot, they’re going to catch you when they reconcile the records after the election. So, it’s the easiest one to catch. You would be really stupid to try.”

voting photo
The general election is weeks away. Voting is in the spotlight this election because of more people voting by mail, which is raising questions about the process. KFOR wanted to set the record straight on a few hot topics… (Photo: KFOR)
  • Next, Ziriax reinforced the fact that voting by mail is a safe, secure and convenient way to cast your vote.

“We have chain of custody laws that prevent other people from taking possession of your ballot where it could be tampered with, lost, trashed, something like that.”

Paul Ziriax

“We have chain of custody laws that prevent other people from taking possession of your ballot where it could be tampered with, lost, trashed, something like that,” said Ziriax. “We also have absentee voter verification through the affidavit. You know, traditionally, that’s been done by notarization. For this election, you can also include a copy of your ID instead of that. Just make sure it’s a valid ID with an expiration date past the date of the election.”

  • Next question concerns provisional ballots. What are they and do they count on election day? 

“If you go to your polling place and your name is not on the registry, or say it’s during a partisan primary and you’re certain you’re a member of one party, but the records show it’s another… It’s just to make sure that you are not disenfranchised by a mistake that’s been made by election officials,” said Ziriax.

Ziriax said provisional voting is also used as a means for voter identity.

“If you don’t have proper identification, you can actually fill out an affidavit and cast by provisional ballot,” said Ziriax. “What happens is those provisional ballots are reviewed after election day by the county election board staff, and if they meet the qualifications and eligibility to be counted, then they’re counted on the Friday after the election.”

In order for a provisional ballot to be counted, it must be cast at the voter’s correct precinct.

  • Next question.. Is there a difference between early voting and absentee voting?

“Early voting, technically, is in-person absentee. It’s where you’re filling out an application to vote that ballot early and you’re doing that at a specific location,” said Ziriax. “Absentee by mail, you’re requesting a ballot that gets mailed to you and then you return it to the county election board.”

  • You may have recently heard of ‘naked ballots,’ in reference to when a voter does not use the secrecy envelope that is provided, which, in other states, can prevent their vote from being counted. However, Ziriax said it is not something you have to worry about in Oklahoma.

“If the only thing you lack is putting your ballot in the secrecy envelope, it’s not going to get tossed out for that reason in Oklahoma,” said Ziriax.

Ziriax said to just make you have the proper verification included with your ballot:

  • Either your signature with a copy of your ID
  • Your signature along with the signature of a notary public
  • Or if you are unable to vote in person because you are physically incapacitated, your signature along with the signature of two witnesses.

The deadline to register to vote for the first time or to update your voter registration is Friday, October 9th. To find out your polling place or to confirm your registration, visit elections.ok.gov.

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