Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Voters Should Apply Early for Absentee Ballots

Voters in Sequoyah County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the Feb. 9 School Election should apply now, Sequoyah County Election Board Secretary Cindy Osborn said.

Although the county election board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on Feb. 3, 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 at 110 E. Creek in Sallisaw. The absentee ballot application forms also can be downloaded and printed at

Voters who have requested an absentee ballot can track their ballot at elections /Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.

“At least two mail transactions must be made,” Osborn said. “The county election board must mail the ballots to the voter and the voter must return the voted ballots by mail.”

Ballots must be in the hands of the county election board by 7 p.m. on election day in order 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-or excuse-for voting absentee.

“While anyone can vote absentee without giving reason, the law still provides several excuses, and it is to the advantage of some voters to use one of them,” Osborn said.

By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, these voters can activate some 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, or by email.

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, or by email.

Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and their spouses and dependents are eligible receive absentee ballots. These voters may apply only by mail, fax, or by email. Military personnel should contact Voting Service Officers in their units for application forms and additional information or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website ( 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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