Monday, May 22, 2017

Voters Should Apply Early for Absentee Ballots


Voters in Sequoyah County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the June 13 Sallisaw and Muldrow Special Elections should apply now, County Election Board Secretary Cindy Osborn said.

On June 13 Sallisaw and Muldrow voters will be asked if they wish to continue the franchise with Arkansas Oklahoma Gas (AOG). AOG has franchise agreements with Sallisaw and Muldrow which they hope to renew, but the agreements must be approved by voters. The franchise is non-exclusive, meaning any other gas company can set up business in the city. AOG will pay the election expense.

Although the county election board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. June 7, Osborn urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early. 

Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 110 E Creek Ave Sallisaw, OK 74955. An online version of the form can be filled out and submitted electronically at: www.elections.ok.gov. A print form can also be downloaded at that address.

Ballots must be in the hands of county election board officials by 7 p.m. on election day to be counted.

Osborn said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he or she is eligible to vote. However, a voter must be registered and reside at an address within the geographical boundaries of a school district or a municipality to be eligible to vote in school district or municipal elections. It is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.

“While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several advantages to absentee voters in some categories,” Osborn said.

By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, absentee voters can activate special conditions that make it easier for them to use absentee ballots. The reasons are:

• Voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may vote absentee. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.

• Voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may vote absentee. An Absentee Voting Board actually goes to the nursing home a few days before the election, sets up a small polling place and allows these persons to vote under circumstances similar to those at a regular precinct polling place. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.

• Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and the spouses and dependents of each group are eligible receive absentee ballots. These voters may apply only by mail, fax, or by email. Military personnel should contact the Voting Service Officers in their units for application forms and additional information or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website (www.fvap.gov/oklahoma) for more information and instructions. Residents of Oklahoma living overseas can obtain the same materials from any U.S. military installation and from U.S. embassies and consulates as well as on the FVAP website. 


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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