As we move closer and closer towards election day, Americans continue to speculate on the outcome of the election and the fate of our country. However many voters overlook one question: “How do I vote?”
In order to register to vote in Oklahoma, you must be eighteen years old, a citizen of the United States, and live in Oklahoma. Although these qualifications might upset young voters, Oklahoma offers a pre-registration process to Oklahomans over the age of seventeen-and-a-half who meet the above qualifications. All first time voters must complete a voter registration form. This form can be accessed through the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website (https://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Register_to_Vote/). You may either print out the form and fill it out by hand, or you may complete it online through the “Voter Registration Wizard” (https://okvoterportal.okelections.us/Home/RegWizard). New voters must complete and submit these forms to their County Election Boards at least twenty-five days before an election (by October 9th, 2020). You can either mail in the form or hand deliver it to your County Election Board. Once your ballot has been approved, the County Election board will send you a voter registration card. It’s important that you take this card with you whenever you vote.
If you plan to vote on election day, you must go to the polls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on election day (November, 3, 2020). You can find your polling place here: okvoterportal.okelections.us. Oklahoma also has an early voting option. Voters can vote on the Thursday or Friday before the election (October 29 and October 30) from 8:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. at their County Election Board offices. They can also participate in early voting from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 31.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this election is like no other. Many voters will choose to vote by mail in order to protect their own health and the health of others. In Oklahoma, all voters may vote by mail. Any registered voter can request an absentee ballot at https://okvoterportal.okelections.us/. He or she simply must enter their first and and last name and his or her date of birth on the site. Voters can also fill out an absentee ballot application and submit it to the county election board. The deadline to request an absentee ballot in Oklahoma is 5 p.m. on October 27; however, voters should probably request a ballot in advance to ensure they receive a ballot on time. Once you receive an absentee ballot, it’s important that you fill it out and mail it as soon as possible. Before you submit it, you must verify your ballot through one of the following options.
Option 1: Due to Senate Bill 210, you may send in a photocopy of a valid ID or your voter registration card instead of having it notarized. If you don’t have access to a copier, libraries will give you free access to one.
Option 2: Your second option depends on whether you have a ballot with a pink or yellow affidavit envelope. If you have the former, you may use the two witness signature option on the ballot. If you receive the latter, you may have your ballot notarized.
Whatever kind of ballot you have, you must mail it back with two stamps. The County Election Board must receive your ballot by 7:00 p.m. on November 3. Just as with your voter registration form, you may either mail in the ballot or hand deliver it. If you choose the latter option, you must deliver the ballot yourself. The County Election Board will not receive your ballot if a proxy delivers it.
Regardless of how you vote this year, it’s important that your voice is heard. Make sure that you mail in your ballot as soon as possible, or that you set aside time to vote on election day if you plan to vote in person. Remember that every vote counts!