Although headlines have been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to know that there is an election coming. On June 30, Oklahoma will hold primary elections for state legislators, Congressional seats and whether or not to expand Medicaid.
We're gathering information right now - but we need to know what questions you have about voting in June. Let us know any other questions you have by texting 'VOTE' to 844-777-7719 or enter your phone number below to get started.
Below are some questions we've been receiving:
When is the deadline to register to vote for the June 30 primaries?
The deadline to register to vote for the June primaries is June 5. You can learn how to register to vote at the Oklahoma State Election Board's website. You can also find other deadlines and dates for upcoming 2020 elections here.
When is the deadline to request an absentee ballot?
You can request an absentee ballot from the Oklahoma State Election Board by June 23. Applications for absentee ballots must be made in writing or using the Oklahoma State Election Board's Online Absentee Voting Application.
"I am voting absentee. I'll need just a copy of my ID to send, right? No notary? Do they want a copy of my Voter ID or my Oklahoma Drivers License?
Misha Mohr, public information officer with the Oklahoma State Election Board, said absentee ballot affidavits are still required to be notorized under Oklahoma law. Because of Governor Kevin Stitt's approval of Senate Bill 210 on May 7, 2020, there are now exceptions if there is a COVID-19 state of emergency in place 45 days prior to the election in 2020. Alternative to a notorized affidavit, voters can attach a copy of a valid ID to their absentee ballot affidavit.
"Voters can attach a copy of their voter ID card, an Oklahoma-issued driver's license with a valid date, or any ID currenly accepted under Oklahoma law," Mohr said. "The law regarding proof of identity has not changed."
Notarized absentee ballots are also accepted during a COVID-19 state of emergency. You can find more information about absentee voting and instructions here.
Can we vote by mail?
"In Oklahoma, no excuse is needed to vote by absentee either by mail or in-person," Mohr said.
Will there still be in-person voting?
There will still be in-person voting. The Oklahoma State Election Board is required by law to offer in-person voting as well as "early voting." Mohr said due to COVID-19 concerns, some polling places may need to be temporarily relocated. All voters can verify their polling place location before heading out to vote on the OK Voter Portal or by calling their county election board.
How is voting going to occur with social distancing practices in place?
The Oklahoma State Election Board is required by law to hold in-person and early voting options. The agency has worked with the OU Health Science Center to develope protocol for voting days.
"Oklahomans who head to the polls in-person will be asked to maintain safe-distancing and to follow signage and poll worker instructions for recieving their ballots," Mohr said.
Mohr also said polling locations are being thoroughly cleaned before the polls open and equipment and other surfaces will be disinfected regularly throughout voting hours.
Do I have to wear a mask if I vote-in person?
Voters are not required to wear a mask or facial covering if they plan to vote in-person; however, state election officials are strongly encouraging people to do so. You can find more COVID-19 and 2020 Elections information here.
Will poll workers and precinct officials be protected during in-person voting?
Poll workers and precinct officials at Oklahoma's nearly 2,000 polling places will be provided masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. State election officials worked with the OU Health Science Center to establish new safe-distancing protocols for poll workers and precinct officials. All polling locations will have signage to provide clear instructions to poll workers, precinct officials and voters regarding the new procedures.
Will there be any special voting hours dedicated to people who are in the high risk categories for COVID-19?
While the law does not allow the Oklahoma State Election Board to modify voting hours, amendments made by SB 210 provide new options for those who are at high risk for COVID-19 regarding absentee voting. SB 210 also expanded the definition of voters who are considered "physically incapacitated."
Those who are at high risk of COVID-19, but who prefer to vote in-person, are encouraged to vote during "early voting" hours when crowds are expected to be smaller.
Early voting for the June 30th Election includes:
- Thursday, June 25th (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
- Friday, June 26th (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
- Saturday, June 27th (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)