OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After election night, voters are flagging questions about the voter verification process here in Oklahoma.
KFOR went on the hunt to answer some common questions that have come into the newsroom since final ballots were cast and counted, including the ballot verification process and why the state still allows straight party voting.
Preliminary, unofficial 2022 General Election results showed about 1.155 million ballots scanned, while more than 480,000 voters marked “straight party” – meaning they chose a party’s entire slate of candidates with a single ballot mark instead of having to pick each individual candidate.
Oklahoma is just one of just six states that still allows the practice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), though some believe it discourages voters from paying attention to races down the ballot and question its relevance.
Secretary of the State Election Board Paul Ziriax said the practice has a long tradition in Oklahoma and is required by law.
“The reason you have straight party voting is that’s what the law requires [and it offers] convenience for voters who know which party they wish to vote for,” he said.
Additionally, some voters have expressed concern about the Oklahoma Voter Portal, which is a tool for Oklahomans to follow their ballots.
Voters may see two green checks to signal that their votes were sent in and received; however, some may also see the words ‘”in progress” and believe their vote may not have been counted.
According to the State Election Board, the OK Voter Portal is an information tool, only.
“The OK voter portal is informational only it doesn’t count ballots, it doesn’t scan ballots,” said Ziriax.
“[It is] not counting your ballot, not counting your vote, that has already been done, that has already been tabulated and posted on our website,” he added.
Instead, the portal will indicate whether an absentee ballot was counted after the election, once all data has been entered, manually by election officials, according to Ziriax.
“It’s just to provide information to voters and what the voter is seeing there on the voter portal is that the data entry on absentee ballots is not completed for that county [but] every single absentee ballot that was eligible to be counted has already been counted.”
Likewise, a gray dot indicating “in progress” means that the information has not yet been entered into the portal.
“If you don’t see it tonight, check tomorrow night. But it’ll be there; there are thousands and thousands of these that have to be entered manually,” he continued.
Accordingly, a county election board has to manually enter the reason for rejection (if applicable) into the portal. Once data entry is complete, the county can activate its information so that it is visible in the portal.
“On the State Election Board website, those are unofficial results and until county election boards have canvased, the results ensured their correctness and then voted to certify the results as being true and correct. Those continue to be unofficial, so certification means that those results have been canvased and confirmed and that the results are official,” he said.
In other words, all of the county’s absentee ballot information is activated at one time. It can’t be activated until all data entry is complete.
The OK State Election Board said voters can scroll down to the bottom of the the absentee voting page on their website for “standard” absentee ballots to see a screenshot example of what the portal looks like once the data has been entered.
Officials will meet Friday to certify county election results; state and federal races will be certified next Tuesday.