With the end-of-the-year deadline to pass election security measures in Congress quickly approaching, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said Oklahoma has already taken steps to secure elections from foreign interference. Lankford, who has been pushing election security to keep American democracy from foreign interference, said there is “no question” that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election. “We were one of the 21 states that were identified early by the FBI that the Russians tried to get into, but they couldn’t get into our system in 2016, so they moved along to others,” Lankford said. In 2017, this information was brought to the Oklahoma State Election Board, encouraging the board to partner with numerous federal and state agencies to address the issue of election security. “We met regularly to discuss risks and plan for contingencies. We arranged for unclassified briefings and security training for county election officials, and shared ‘best practices’ with state and county election employees,” said Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax in a June congressional testimony.Full Article: Oklahoma increases election security efforts.
Articles about voting issues in Oklahoma.
The number of people registering to vote at Oklahoma’s public service agencies has spiked in recent years, and voting rights advocates are crediting a settlement with the state Election Board. The Oklahoman reports that the 2015 settlement was reached after state and national organization threatened to sue unless the board did more to help register potential voters at public offices, as required under federal law. Those offices included the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Since then, the average number of monthly voter registrations from the agencies has tripled, from less than 500 per month to almost 1,500 per month, according to state election data.Full Article: Voter registration spike follows state Election Board deal - Times Union.
Voting rights activists on Tuesday praised Oklahoma’s efforts to make registration more accessible under the National Voting Rights Act. “Oklahoma has tripled the numbers of people registering through public assistance agencies since 2015,” said Brenda Wright, senior advisor for legal strategies at Demos, a New York-based non-profit that advocates for ballot access and other causes. “The state should be commended for its impressive commitment to our shared American value that every eligible voter should be able to vote come Election Day,” Wright in a news release. “By implementing a comprehensive plan for voter registration services at these agencies across the state, Oklahoma has exemplified the NVRA’s principle and promise: States must do their part to bring all Americans into our democracy.”Full Article: Voting rights advocate praises Oklahoma in expanding registration access | Homepagelatest | tulsaworld.com.
As the popularity of early voting continues to rise, some lawmakers are reviving a plan to make it easier for Oklahomans to vote. But they likely will run into continued resistance that has given Oklahoma the shortest in-person early-voting period among the many states that allow early voting. Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said Senate Democrats are preparing legislation that would extend the time voters have to cast ballots through the in-person absentee option. Oklahoma currently has the shortest early voting period of the 37 states that offer early voting. State law allows voters to cast in-person absentee ballots on three days before Election Day: from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.Full Article: County officials resist efforts to expand early voting in Oklahoma | State | enidnews.com.
For the first time, many Oklahoma voters will now be able to update some of their basic voter registration information online.
The first phase of online voter registration, which was operational Monday, allows Oklahomans to update their address or party affiliation online, said Paul Ziriax, election board secretary, in a statement.
Voters, however, must be already registered and have an address change within their current county in order to use the online service. Oklahomans who relocate to another county, change their name or who plan to register for the first time must still complete the paper form for a few more years, he said.
“Already registered voters who are changing their information, that accounts for a good portion of the registrations we receive,” said elections spokesman Bryan Dean.
As of December, 37 other states already offered online registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.Phasing in online voter registration | Oklahoma | normantranscript.com.
From a national point of view, voting seems kind of scary at the moment. One story after another is surfacing about vulnerabilities in electronic voting systems. A quick internet search would likely bring up how it is possible to hack into some of them remotely, exposing Americans’ fundamental freedom to vote and leaving their political future up for grabs. But anyone who casts a ballot in Oklahoma can rest easy. Yes, it has those electronic machines that take ballots and count them digitally, but those are not the ones being talked about when it comes to hackers or vote manipulators.Full Article: With electronic voting under scrutiny, paper remains king in Oklahoma | Government | normantranscript.com.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday backed a state requirement that voters provide a photo ID at the polls, the latest decision in a nationwide battle between voting rights advocates who say the laws are aimed at suppressing turnout and conservatives who say the protections are needed to prevent voter fraud. The court upheld a lower court ruling 8 to 0 with one justice recusing. “The Oklahoma Voter ID Act is a reasonable procedural regulation to ensure that voters meet identity and residency qualifications and does not cause an undue burden,” according to the 8-0 ruling, with one justice recusing, which upholds a lower court ruling in the lawsuit.Full Article: Oklahoma photo ID law gets backing of state Supreme Court - NZ Herald.
Oklahoma will not be the latest state to allow voters to take selfies with their ballots, after Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill this week that would’ve legalized the seemingly innocuous, but controversial practice. Fallin, a Republican, declined to sign a bill that would’ve allowed Oklahomans to take photos of their marked ballots, from either an absentee form or a voting booth, and share the images on social media. So-called “ballot selfies” have become increasingly popular over the past several election cycles, but ballot-security experts and elections officials in some states have become increasingly wary of the images’ potential to be abused.Full Article: Bill allowing 'ballot selfies' vetoed by Oklahoma governor.
Another round of federal elections is just months away, and Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford has a bill to guard them against foreign interference. Provisions of the Secure Elections Act would help push out paperless voting systems and encourage all states to audit their elections after they’re finished. Lankford told CNN states will still be running their elections. “But where states are not keeping up their equipment, we need to be able to encourage those states and help provide some grants to those states to say, ‘Go take care of your equipment,'” Lankford said. “We don’t want to have at the end of the next election a guess that the election had fraud in it, that they got into an election system.”Full Article: Lankford Prioritizing Cybersecurity Ahead of 2018 Elections | Public Radio Tulsa.
With various legislator scandals and resignations, the Oklahoma State Election Board is on track to spend as much as a quarter of a million dollars on special elections this year. Eight state legislators have resigned their seats early since Dec. 31, 2016. Along with multiple resignations due to various sex and malfeasance scandals at the Oklahoma Legislature, a few lawmakers also have stepped down over the past year to take new full-time jobs. Among three special elections scheduled for Nov. 14 is one to replace Rep. David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow, who died while in office.Full Article: Lawmaker resignations cause growing special election costs for state | News OK.
More than 60 legislative bills have been filed since 2015 that seek to expand or create new options for Oklahomans to vote or register to vote. But an Oklahoma Watch review of the legislation considered during the past three sessions shows that most didn’t even get a committee hearing. All but 10 failed to reach the governor’s desk. Among the survivors, the most potentially significant one – approved in 2015 to allow online voter registration – may not take effect for two to three more years, meaning most voters in the 2018 elections will likely encounter few changes that appreciably improve voter convenience or efficiency.Full Article: Oklahoma Slow to Adopt Changes to Ease Voting Laws | Oklahoma Watch.
The ongoing fight to overturn Oklahoma’s voter identification law – a legal challenge that has spanned more than five years – could soon face a new obstacle. The state Senate passed a joint resolution this week that seeks to amend the Oklahoma Constitution with language requiring “proof of identity” to be able to vote. In practice, this would have little to no impact on the state’s existing law that requires voters to show a voter ID card or a photo ID issued by the U.S. government, Oklahoma state government or an Oklahoma tribal government. Elevating the requirement to the constitutional level would better shield it from lawsuits, including one that is now before the state Supreme Court.Full Article: As Court Challenge Continues, Oklahoma Looks to Solidify Voter ID Law | Oklahoma Watch.
A state lawmaker has filed a bill that would eliminate straight party voting. Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, is the author of Senate Bill 9. “I think it is unnecessary to have the straight-party option,” Dossett said Monday. “I think it is something that might have had value in the past when people couldn’t inform themselves on the candidate and vote.” Ten states including Oklahoma offer straight-party voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The number of states offering it has been declining in recent years, according to the NCSL. Dossett said it probably benefited Democrats when they were in power and now benefits Republicans. His filing of the measure is not related to the recent elections, Dossett said.Full Article: Bill would eliminate straight-party voting in state - Tulsa World: Homepagelatest.
A more than four-year legal challenge to overturn Oklahoma’s voter identification law was rejected this week by a state district court judge, who upheld the constitutionality of the measure. Oklahoma County District Court Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons dismissed the case Monday after hearing arguments from lawyers representing the Oklahoma State Election Board and Tulsa resident Delilah Christine Gentges. Gentges’ attorney said he plans to appeal the decision. Gentges sued after 74 percent of voters approved a state question in 2010 that requires every voter, before casting a ballot, to show proof of identity issued by the U.S. government, Oklahoma state government or an Oklahoma tribal government. Like in many other states that have passed similar laws, voter-rights advocates here argued the requirement is unconstitutional because it interferes with residents’ right to vote.Full Article: Judge dismisses challenge to Oklahoma's voter ID law | News | tahlequahdailypress.com.
Oklahoma election officials hope that a new online voter registration system will increase voter participation in the state. Since 2000, the number of people eligible to cast a ballot who haven’t registered to vote in the state has more than doubled, the Tulsa World reported Sunday. About 389,000 of the nearly 2.5 million eligible Oklahomans did not register in 2000, and that number grew to more than 800,000 of the total eligible population by 2014. The 30-to-39-year-old age group showed the biggest decrease in voter registration, falling from 82 percent to 62 percent. But the 18-to-29-year-old group continues to have the lowest percentage of registered voters, falling from 61 percent to 48 percent.Full Article: Online system aimed at raising Oklahoma voter registration | Nation | thesouthern.com.
Soon the Oklahoma House of Representatives will vote on Bill 2277 to clarify voting rights for ex-felons. The proposal authored by State Representative Regina Goodwin passed committee in a 6-0 vote. Current Oklahoma law states a completed prison sentence also completes a ban from voting. However, Goodwin said not every former offender knows they have that right. “I was knocking on doors and there was a man that had been sitting there for 35 years and he said to me he couldn’t vote, that really hurt. And I said, ‘Why are folks thinking they can’t vote?” said Goodwin.Full Article: Bill to clarify voting rights for ex-felons goes to House for a vote | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOKH.
Legislation intended to clarify state law pertaining to restoration of a convict’s voting rights has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, filed House Bill 2277 for consideration during the second regular session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature, which convenes Feb. 1. HB 2277 provides that anyone convicted of a felony could register to vote upon having “fully served” his/her sentence, “including any term of incarceration, parole or supervision,” or after completing a probationary period imposed by a judge.Full Article: Legislation filed to clarify voting state's rights law - Tulsa World: Government.
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to clarify the state law regarding a convict’s voting rights. Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa filed House Bill 2277 for the upcoming legislative session. The proposed bill states that anyone convicted of a felony could register to vote after having “fully served” his or her sentence, “including any term of incarceration, parole or supervision,” or after completing a probationary period imposed by a judge.Full Article: Oklahoma lawmaker wants to clarify state law involving a convict's voting rights | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KTUL.
Oklahoma will soon join two dozen other states in allowing people to register to vote online. The law making this possible takes effect November 1, but News 9’s Alex Cameron tells us the system won’t be ready then. November 1 is when the state is officially authorized to begin working to put an online registration system in place, and it could take a while. The sponsor of the legislation, Sen. David Holt, says the hope is to have online registration available in time for the 2016 election, but there’s no guarantee.Full Article: Oklahoma Will Soon Allow Online Voter Registration - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |.
Nearly a year ago, a coalition of voter-advocacy groups wrote a letter to Oklahoma’s top elections official to deliver a stark, but not uncommon, message: The state had failed to comply with federal law. Specifically, the groups charged, Oklahoma was not giving citizens receiving public assistance an opportunity to register to vote, which is a requirement of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. “We hope to work amicably with you to remedy Oklahoma’s non-compliance,” the advocates wrote. “However, we will pursue litigation if necessary.” Such warnings are often a precursor to lawsuits, the kind of knock-down, drag-out legal fights that are filled with accusations of voter suppression and partisan chicanery. In North Carolina and Texas, the courts are weighing challenges to new voter-ID laws, and the Supreme Court recently delivered voter advocates a victory when it ruled that Arizona and Kansas could not require people to show proof of citizenship when they register to vote.Full Article: Advocates Strike Deal on Voter Registration in Oklahoma - The Atlantic.