How Oklahomans can vote if COVID-19 complications interrupt election day plans

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Most of us don’t plan for contracting COVID-19, quarantining or worst of all – ending up hospitalized, but how can we ensure our voice is heard in the election if it happens?

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 26th is the last day to request an absentee ballot and early voting begins Thursday, October 29th in Oklahoma.

But if you plan on voting in person but can’t – Oklahoma still has a way you can cast your ballot.

Voter enthusiasm is high across the country for the November 3rd election – including here in Oklahoma.

“We’re seeing a surge in voter registrations,” Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax. “We’re almost triple the amount of absentee ballot requests we’ve ever seen for a November election.”

Ziriax says Oklahomans are showing they want their voices to be heard.

We are entering the final stretch of making your voting plan if you haven’t yet.

5 p.m. Tuesday is the last day you can request an absentee ballot – but what if you plan to vote in person and end up in quarantine or the hospital after that date?

Ziriax says call your county election board – you can vote absentee via an emergency incapacitation ballot.

“What you would do is you’d make a written request to the county election board,” he said. “It would be accompanied by a statement by your doctor that you’re incapacitated and the incapacitation happened after 5 p.m. on Tuesday.”

The voter’s request and the doctor’s statement are taken to the county election board office by a person chosen by the voter – known as their agent.

“Then the county election board will process that and the agent would receive the voter’s ballot and deliver it to the voter,” said Ziriax.

After the voter fills out the ballot – the agent will have to return it to the county election board no later than 7 p.m. on election day.

Ziriax says by November 3rd, the only absentee ballots most election boards will have left to process will be the ones they receive on election day.

“We will be finished on election night,” he said. “It’s just a question of does election night bleed over into the next day but we’ll get it finished and we’re glad about that.”

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