KOSU has been answering questions from our listening and texting club communities about the June 30th primary - where Oklahoma will hold elections for state legislators, Congressional seats and whether or not to expand Medicaid.
This post was updated on June 24, 2020. KOSU is continuing to update this voter guide for the June 30th primary. Bookmark this page for the latest updates.
Below are answers to some questions that can serve as a voter's guide for the primary elections:
When is the deadline to register to vote for the June 30 primaries?
The deadline to register to vote for the June primaries was 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?
The deadline to request an absentee ballot from the Oklahoma State Election Board was 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.
How much postage does my returned absentee ballot require?
One Payne County Election official told KOSU they recommend voters use the same amount of postage used to mail the ballot out. That amount can be found at the top right corner of the ballot envelope.
Marti Johnson, a senior public relations representative for the United States Postal Service who specializes in election and political mail, said even if there are not enough stamps on your ballot, your vote would still be counted. Johnson said it is the USPS’s policy not to delay the delivery of completed Absentee or Vote-By-Mail ballots. She said the USPS will bill missing postage from the appropriate Board of Elections if absentee ballots don’t have enough postage on them.
The USPS recommends absentee ballots for the June 30th primary be mailed-in one week before the election.
Can we vote by mail?
"In Oklahoma, no excuse is needed to vote by absentee either by mail or in-person," Mohr said.
“How do l apply for mail-in voting?”
According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, you may write a letter to your county election board to apply for absentee ballots.The letter must contain the following information and be mailed to your county election board.
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
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.
Where can I get my absentee ballot notorized?
There are several financial institutions and other organizations that are offering free absentee voter services. You can find a list of those institutions and organizations here.
The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma have created special office hours during June to provide voters copies of identification required for absentee ballot for the June 30 Oklahoma primary elections. A notary public will also be available for voters who want to have their ballots notarized. The LWVOK headquarters are located at 720 W. Wilshire Blvd, Suite 101-I in Oklahoma City, on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.
"What does expanding Medicaid mean?"
The expansion would mean adding a provision to the Oklahoma Constitution requiring the state to expand Medicaid, a government-sponsored health insurance program for qualifying low-income persons. If approved, the measure requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to maximize federal funding for Medicaid expansion in the state with an implementation date of July 1, 2021.
You can learn more background information about the issue here:
Below is the ballot title for State Question 802, pulled from the Oklahoma Secretary of State's website:
Medicaid is a government-sponsored health insurance program for qualifying low-income persons. This measure would add a provision to the Oklahoma Constitution requiring the State to expand Medicaid coverage. The expanded coverage would include certain persons over 18 and under 65 who are not already covered and whose annual income, as calculated under federal law, is at or below 133% of the federal poverty line. The federal poverty line changes annually, but for example if this measure were in effect in 2019, the measure generally would have covered a single adult making less than 17,236 annually and adults in a family of four making less than $35,535 annually. Under this measure, the State cannot create additional restrictions that make it more difficult to qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage than it is to qualify for the Medicaid program currently in place. The Medicaid program is funded jointly by the federal government and the State. This measure would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to try to maximize federal funding for Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma. If the measure is approved, OHCA has 90 days to submit all documents necessary to obtain federal approval for implementing Medicaid expansion by July 1, 2021.
Has there been an uptick in the number of Oklahomans voting by absentee this June?
"Yes, we have seen an uptick in absentee ballot requests, however, this is also quite typical for big election years. While absentee ballot numbers have been increasing steadily over the years, Oklahoma voters still primarily vote in-person on Election Day," Misha Mohr told KOSU in an email.
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. You can vote early at the County Election Board office in the county you are registered to vote in.
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.)
What will be on the ballot June 30th?
In the upcoming primary election on June 30th, Oklahomans cast their votes on:
United States Senators
Democrat: Sheila Bilyeu, Elysabeth Britt, Abby Broyles and R.O. Joe Cassity, Jr.
Independent: Joan Farr and A.D. Nesbit.
Libertarian: Robert Murphy.
Republican: James Inhofe (incumbent), Neil Mavis, JJ Stitt, John Tompkins.
United States Representatives
Democrat: Kojo Asamoa-Caesar and Mark A. Keeter.
Independent: Evelyn L. Rogers.
Republican: Kevin Hern (incumbent).
Libertarian: Richie Castaldo
Republican: Markwayne Mullin (incumbent), Joseph Silk and Rhonda Hopkins.
Democrat: Zoe Midyett.
Republican: Frank Lucas (incumbent).
Democrat: John D. Argo, Mary Brannon and David R. Slemmons.
Independent: Bob White.
Republican: Tom Cole (incumbent), Gilbert O. Sanders, Trevor Sipes and James Taylor.
Democrat: Tom Guild and Kendra Horn (incumbent).
Republican: Michael Ballard, Janet Barresi, Stephanie Bice, David Hill, Shelli Landon, Jake A. Merrick, Terry Neese, Charles Tuffy Pringle and Miles V. Rahimi.
We're still gathering information for this voter's guide right now - but we need to know what questions you have about June primary. Let us know any other questions you have by texting 'VOTE' to 844-777-7719 or enter your phone number below to get started.