Voters can expect a lot of changes in the election process over the next several months, said Connie Parnell, regional coordinator for the Oklahoma Election Board.
Parnell also serves as Cherokee County Election Board secretary. She visited the Muskogee County Election Board last week to go over the changes with local officials.
Among the changes:
• New voting machines. They will be optical readers as in the past, but will give much faster returns. Once the information from a precinct is brought to the county election board, it will be added to the state totals, so returns will come in much faster.
• Voter identification. Every voter, even if they are a family member of the precinct worker, will be required to show identification when they vote. This change was approved by voters two years ago.
• Election dates. The presidential preferential primary will now be held in March instead of February. Primary elections will be held in June.
• Filing dates: Filing for office will be on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The protest or challenge period will end at 5 p.m. the following Tuesday. Filing for next year’s general election will be the second week in April.
All these changes will require a lot of education for voters, candidates and election workers, Parnell said.