Local Political Organization Concerned About November Elections

Tuesday, August 11th 2020, 5:20 pm

Nearly 3,000 absentee ballots were rejected in Oklahoma during this year's primary elections, and a local political organization is worried that situation could get worse this November.

The League of Women Voters said Oklahoma had one of the highest rates of absentee ballot rejections in the country.

The main reason was voters' ballots coming in late, and the nonpartisan group said that's because of confusing absentee voter instructions.

"Lack of knowledge, lack of clear direction on what the options are," Oklahoma League of Women Voters President Jan Largent said.

The issue is this, if Oklahoma is no longer in a state of emergency 45 days before the election, then absentee voters need to have their ballots notarized.

But if the state of emergency remains, voters only need to include a copy of their ID.

"This is a much easier option than having to find a notary public especially in these times with the pandemic that we know is not going to be going anywhere anytime soon," Largent said.

So Largent wrote a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt, asking for him to issue an executive order that will give instructions now on what the parameters will be for November, saying in part, that we could be looking at "the very real possibility and probability that many legitimate votes will not be counted, and the likelihood of a fiasco of challenges and delays in results, not only in the presidential election but in all federal and state races."

Stitt's office responded to that letter Tuesday, not mentioning an executive order, but saying in part, "It is the Governor's intent to adhere to the timeline put forth by the Legislature when making a potential declaration."

The governor has extended state of emergency declarations in 30 day increments, with the current one going through the end of the month.