UDPATE: Gov. Stitt signs new absentee voting requirements bill into law

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law a bill establishing requirements for absentee voting in Oklahoma.

Stitt signed Senate Bill 210 on Thursday, soon after the State Senate overwhelmingly approved it with a vote of 38-9.

The bill, which was written by Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City), does the following:

• Requires voters to have absentee ballots notarized, which has been the standard in Oklahoma for well over 50 years.
• Allows voters to submit absentee ballots with a copy of their identification or voter identification card, in lieu of having it notarized, if a public health emergency has been declared within 45 days of an election. That is expected to include the June 30 primary election.
• Allows residents of long-term care facilities and veterans’ centers to vote absentee under existing Election Board procedures for those facilities that would be enhanced by allowing a facility official to be deputized by an election official to enter the facility to collect required documentation.
• Mandates that those ill with COVID-19 who cannot leave their home, those suffering from symptoms of COVID-19 and those in high-risk categories can be considered “physically incapacitated” and can have an absentee ballot sent to their home.

SB210 by KFOR on Scribd

The Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled Monday that absentee ballots do not have to be notarized in order to vote.

Oklahoma is one of three states that requires an absentee ballot to be notarized before the ruling.

Original Story

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new bill heads to the governor’s desk for consideration after the Oklahoma Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday to establish requirements for absentee voting in the Sooner State.

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, is the author of the bill, and says the bill protects the integrity of the absentee ballot process while granting exemptions during the course of the coronavirus health pandemic.

The bill passed 38-9.

Senate Bill 210:

  • Requires voters to have absentee ballots notarized, which has been the standard in Oklahoma for well over 50 years.
  • Allows voters to submit absentee ballots with a copy of their identification or voter identification card, in lieu of having it notarized, if a public health emergency has been declared within 45 days of an election. That is expected to include the June 30 primary election.
  • The bill also allows residents of long-term care facilities and veterans’ centers to vote absentee under existing Election Board procedures for those facilities that would be enhanced by allowing a facility official to be deputized by an election official to enter the facility to collect required documentation.
  • Those ill with COVID-19 who cannot leave their home, those suffering from symptoms of COVID-19 and those in high-risk categories can be considered “physically incapacitated” and can have an absentee ballot sent to their home.

This bill’s passage comes after the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled Monday that absentee ballots do not have to be notarized in order to vote.

“Unfortunately, the Oklahoma Supreme Court legislated from the bench on Monday. Oklahomans need to have confidence that our election process is secure and free from fraud. This measure upholds the integrity of our absentee ballot process while also making it easier to vote absentee during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic all in an attempt to protect the health and safety of voters and election workers,” Treat said. “Through the ballot box and in our Constitution, Oklahomans have made it abundantly clear they want our elections free from fraud and interference. The Legislature has followed through and enacted measures to uphold and protect our election process. This is a good solution that addresses concerns raised about voting during a pandemic, while also maintaining the integrity of the absentee ballot process.”

Oklahoma was one of three states that requires an absentee ballot to be notarized before the ruling.

In the state of Oklahoma, anyone can vote absentee. You can request an absentee ballot here.

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