State Election Board answers questions on absentee ballots, postage

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Many Oklahomans are voting absentee for the first time this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that’s led to many questions about postage and the process.

“Postage actually varies from voter to voter depending on the number of elections in which you’re eligible to vote,” said Misha Mohr, Public Information Officer for the State Election Board.

Mohr says because ballots and local post offices differ, your best bet is to contact your own local post office to determine what postage you need.

In addition – ensure you put first-class postage on it.

“So what I always recommend voters do is look at the outside of your envelope when you receive your absentee ballot and that can be a great guide to determine the amount of absentee postage,” she said.

According to the USPS website, absentee ballot materials are handled differently and are not to be returned for additional postage or detained.

USPS says postage is collected from the election office and any delay of absentee ballots is a violation of Postal Service policy.

If you vote absentee by mail, your ballot must be received by your county election board no later than 7 p.m. on election day.

If you choose to hand-deliver your absentee ballot to your county election board, make sure you do so before the end of the business day the Monday before the election.

“They will actually begin that process of opening those ballots and making sure that the correct verification is inside prior to the election but the tabulation does not take place until after 7 p.m. on election day,” Mohr said.

If you choose to vote in-person but fall ill or are quarantined with COVID-19 during election day – Oklahoma does have a law that provides for emergency incapacitation.

​”So don’t assume that you can’t vote because you’ve been quarantined or you’ve tested positive,” said Mohr. “Contact your county election board and they can provide you options.”

While other states are facing fears of delayed results due to more people voting absentee, Mohr says Oklahoma has processes in place to speed up the county.

“We expect absentee ballots, in-person ballots, everything to be tabulated on election night and if that means us staying here until 3 o’clock in the morning, we will have our results election night,” she said.

If you’re worried you had the incorrect postage or that your ballot did not make it, you can track your absentee ballot on the OK Voter Portal website or call your county election board.

October 9th is the last day to register to vote or update your registration. (Must be postmarked or submitted no later than Oct. 9.)

Click here to get a voter registration form.

Be sure to print, sign, and mail or hand-deliver your application to your County Election Board.

You can check your registration through the OK Voter Portal.

Oct. 27, 5 p.m. is the deadline to request an absentee ballot.

If a voter requests a “standard” absentee ballot but changes their mind and decides to vote in-person on election day or an early voting day, they can do so  if they have not submitted their mail absentee ballot.

They should tell the poll worker they received an absentee ballot, but have decided to vote in-person.

They will be asked to sign the poll book and an affidavit stating that they received an absentee ballot, but have not submitted it.

They will then be issued a new ballot.

It is a felony to vote twice in Oklahoma.

You can find more about Oklahoma’s absentee ballot harvesting laws here.

Early Voting dates at County Election Boards are as follows:

Thurs., Oct. 29 (8-6 p.m.)

Fri., Oct. 30 (8-6 p.m.)

Sat., Oct. 31 (9-2 p.m.)

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