STATE NEWS

Absentee Ballot needs Notarization


In the calendar year 2020, Legislature passed an emergency order in Senate Bill 210, which allowed registered voters who met certain COVID-19 criteria to claim “physically incapacitated” status for absentee voting at elections. Voters were not required to disclose or prove which of the COVID-19 criteria that made them eligible to apply as a physically incapacitated voter.
 The bill read, “In the event a State of Emergency declared by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic is in effect 45 days prior to a scheduled election, or is declared within 45 days of the election, then: A voter who requests an absentee ballot … may, in lieu of having his or her signature notarized by a notary public … sign the absentee ballot affidavit and attach a photocopy of a form of identification,”.
As 2020 has come to its end, so has the emergency order declared by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt.
 Caddo County Election Board Secretary Katrina Hughes said, “Voters who continue to request absentee ballots in 2021 will receive updated absentee ballot instructions with their balloting material and should read them thoroughly before placing their ballot in the mail. The standard absentee ballot affidavits are required to be notarized, so “Physically incapacitated” absentee ballot affidavits must also have the voter’s signature witnessed by two people”.
 Voters who choose to vote by mail in the Feb. 9 elections will now have to have their signature notarized, as a copy of a photo ID is no longer deemed valid for voter verification. As always, we recommend voters allow themselves plenty of time to receive, vote, and return their ballots.” said Hughes.
Applications for absentee ballots may be made using the Oklahoma State Election Board’s OK Voter Portal on their website at https://oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp.html, or, download an absentee ballot request form. Absentee ballot application forms are also available from all county election boards and from the State Election Board.
 You are not required to use the form, however. You may write a letter to your county election board to apply for absentee ballots. The letter must contain the following information: your name, your birth date, the address at which you are registered to vote, the election or elections for which you are requesting ballots, the address to which the ballots should be mailed, and your signature.

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