Thousands of absentee ballots rejected in June primary election; no sign of election fraud

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say that while the state saw a record number of absentee voters in June, thousands of those ballots were rejected.

Authorities stress that the majority of those rejected were turned in past the deadline. Also, hundreds were thrown out because they didn’t have the required voter verification.

“That would mean that they would be rejected either because they didn’t have the two witnesses that’s required on the handicap ones,” Oklahoma County Election Board Secretary Doug Sanderson told KFOR.  “Or the notary that’s required on the ‘no excuse,’ or the ID.”

In Oklahoma County alone, they received almost 38,000 absentee ballots, which is around double the number they usually receive during a primary. 

However, 789 of those were rejected.

Despite the high volume, Sanderson says percentage-wise, it’s par for the course. 

“Because we were in the emergency and you didn’t have to have a notary, you didn’t have to have the two witnesses, you could simply send in a copy of your ID,” Sanderson said. “More of them were processed than otherwise there perhaps would have been.”

Just over half of the ballots rejected were because they either weren’t notarized, or the voter failed to include a copy of their ID.

Sanderson says they also didn’t see any sign of voter fraud. 

“We didn’t find anything. Any violations of the law we would always turn it over to the district attorney’s office,” Sanderson said. “We didn’t find anything.”

KFOR reached out to the Oklahoma State Election Board to ask about the absentee ballots processed in June and to ask if there were any possible cases of fraud. 

State Election Board Public Information Officer Misha Mohr sent us this statement:

“County Election Boards count every absentee ballot that can legally be counted under Oklahoma law. Almost 96.5% of absentee ballots that were returned for the June 30 election were counted. At the 2018 General Election, about 95.5% of returned absentee ballots were counted. At the 2016 General Election about 97.5% were counted.

It is critical to verify that the person who votes an absentee ballot is the same person to whom it was issued. The Legislature authorized the ID copy as an alternative verification method for voters during a COVID-19 state of emergency.

County election boards report violations of election law to the District Attorney for that county. You will need to check with the district attorneys for information about criminal allegations, investigations or prosecutions.”

Officials say June 30 saw a record number of absentee ballots returned for a primary election. Even though some were rejected, about 81% of votes were still cast on Election Day.

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