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The health and safety of election workers and voters remains foremost on the minds of state and county election officials. Oklahomans can know that state and county election officials are working very hard to make sure that our elections are conducted as safely and securely as possible.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR IN-PERSON VOTING
State election officials worked with health professionals at the OU Health Sciences Center to develop protocols for social distancing and disinfection at in-person voting sites. This will help protect poll workers and voters alike. Read the protocols here.
Additionally, state election officials and our partners at OU Health Sciences Center strongly recommend that election workers and voters wear masks or cloth face coverings at in-person voting sites.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, DISINFECTION AT IN-PERSON VOTING SITES
The State Election Board has secured personal protective equipment (including masks, gloves, and eye protection) and disinfection supplies for use by poll workers at in-person polling places. There are sufficient supplies on hand for every poll worker at the upcoming election.
NO-EXCUSE ABSENTEE VOTING
Oklahoma voters do not need an excuse to vote by mail absentee ballot. It is an easy and convenient way to vote. Apply online, print an application or learn more about absentee voting here.
The deadline to request a mail absentee ballot is the Tuesday one week prior to the date of an election, but voters are encouraged to apply as early as possible.
NEW ALTERNATIVES FOR ABSENTEE VOTER VERIFICATION
Senate Bill 210 created new alternatives for absentee voters to verify their identity during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Instead of having your signature notarized (if your Affidavit envelope has a yellow stripe) or witnessed by two people (if your Affidavit envelope has a pink stripe), you now have the option of attaching a copy of an identification document to your affidavit envelope instead. (SB 210 became effective May 7, 2020.) Learn more here.
NEW COVID-19 CRITERIA QUALIFY FOR “PHYSICALLY INCAPACITATED” ABSENTEE BALLOT
Senate Bill 210 allows registered voters who meet new COVID-19 criteria to claim “physically incapacitated” status for absentee voting at elections held during calendar year 2020. (SB 210 became effective May 7, 2020.) Absentee ballot affidavits for “physically incapacitated” voters and their caregivers are verified by two witnesses – no notarization is required. Learn more here.
SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR PROCESSING ABSENTEE BALLOTS
State election officials worked with health professionals at the OU Health Sciences Center to develop protocols for county election officials to safely process absentee ballots. Read the protocols here.
ENSURING ABSENTEE BALLOTS GET TO NURSING HOME VOTERS
Senate Bill 210 includes a provision to help ensure voters in nursing facilities (nursing homes) and veterans centers are able to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. (SB 210 became effective May 7, 2020.) In the event an absentee voting board is restricted from accessing a nursing facility or veterans center during the pandemic, county election officials can appoint health professionals at the facility to deliver absentee ballots and voting materials to these voters and return the voted, witnessed, and sealed ballots to the absentee voting board.
COVID-19 PROVISIONS IN SENATE BILL 1779
Senate Bill 1779 included several provisions requested by state election officials to improve the administration of elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. (SB 1779 became effective May 21, 2020.) Here are some highlights of SB 1779:
HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO BE A POLL WORKER?
County election boards are always seeking poll workers – which was as true before the pandemic as it is now. Generally, serving as a poll worker is a great way to serve, and to learn more about the conduct and administration of elections. Those interested in serving as a poll worker should contact their county election board.