OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 210 into law on Thursday, a major action that came after the State Supreme Court’s decision to forgo absentee ballots to be notarized.
“It puts everyone in this very sticky situation,” said Tatianna Cannon, Let Oklahoma Vote. “It sort of puts you back at square one where your safety is still at risk.”
Those against the bill say notarizing ballots is a problem, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The other option is to send in a photocopy of their driver license with your absentee ballot, instead of having it notarized.
But the League of Women Voters argues not everyone has access to a notary or a printer.
“People in my age group aren’t going to want to go out and search for a place to get their driver’s license copied,” said Jan Largent, League of Women Voters President.
Those on the other side of the bill say notarization or photo ID is necessary.
“Oklahoma had a history of fraudulent voting. In fact, a former county commissioner, Democrat county commissioner, mentioned in the 80s that it was customary to buy absentee ballots,” said Jonathan Small, President of Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.
The Oklahoma Republican Party sent us the following statement in favor of the bill:
“We at the Oklahoma Republican Party are in support of the measure that passed to protect our election integrity through the absentee ballot process and agree with our leadership on statements they have already issued.
The legislation provides election integrity and protects public safety and public health during this time. Requiring a copy of identification to accompany an absentee ballot envelope still provides a standard practice like we use at the polls.
The recent Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling has allowed our state’s checks and balances to evaluate and make the statute on the issue stronger.”
When asked earlier this week, officials say they weren’t aware of any recent voter fraud cases that resulted in a conviction.
“I know of no cases of voter fraud in the last five years,” said Rep. Chris Kannady.
But Let Oklahoma Vote says fraud isn’t enough of a reason.
“We think that this idea of security becomes an excuse,” Cannon said.