Oklahoma House Election Committee Advance Voting Bills


Tuesday, February 9th 2021, 6:04 pm
By: Storme Jones


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The State House Ethics and Elections Committee tackled election bills Tuesday ranged from proving automatic voter registration to allowing folks to vote in person if their mail-in ballot has not been received. 

Bills not making the cut included one to require colleges provide a notary for absentee ballots and one to automatically register voters when they turn 18. 

The only bill to pass committee unanimously was one to require funeral directors notify county election officials so that they can remove the person from voter rolls. 

“I think making the funeral director list mandatory, that could actually help,” State Election Secretary Paul Ziriax said. “I don't know that it really adds much in the way of staff time for much in the way of cost.” 

A bill pushed off to another day would extend early voting. 

“Young people of all political stripes enjoy their early voting,” Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa, said. 

“My belief is it’s a privilege to get to vote, so I want to go to my polling place when it's time to go. I feel like that's my duty,” Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburon said. “So, how can you tell this is going to help me by spending this early voting out to two full weeks.” 

“This would not help you, sir, because you are already engaged,” Blancett responded. 

Another bill advancing to the full House, would let voters cast a provisional ballot in person on election day if they're worried about their mail in ballot. 

“The most common reasons were of the failure to notarize or include an ID, affidavit was not signed, or not returned or the ballot was just simply received too late,” Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City, said. 

“There's a very easy way to go online so if you wake up on election day check the OK voter portal and your county election board still has not received your absentee ballot this is kind of a fail safe,” Ziriax said.