Coronavirus could make it hard for Oklahomans to vote in our upcoming elections, but it doesn’t have to. We are a coalition of concerned Oklahomans who’ve come together to ensure no one has to risk their safety in order to exercise their right to vote in the midst of a pandemic.
Casting an absentee ballot by mail should be the easy solution to ensure Oklahomans can safely exercise their right to vote from the security of their own home. But Oklahoma is one of only three states where the ballot form requires absentee ballots to be notarized in order to be counted on Election Day. This must change immediately.
Requiring a notary to verify affidavits for absentee ballots puts the health and safety of not only the voter, but also the notary at risk in the face of the highly contagious coronavirus outbreak.
The good news is, there’s an easy fix. The Election Board Secretary should immediately exercise his authority under Oklahoma law to revise the ballot materials and make clear an absentee ballot can EITHER be notarized OR verified by the voter under penalty of perjury pursuant to 12 O.S. 426--eliminating the need to sign in the presence of a notary public. It’s time to let the people of Oklahoma vote safely and securely from home without putting their health and the health of others at risk.