In the final weeks of the legislative session, nestled in between hemp and chicken coops, was a bill that stripped the state Board of Elections of its power to buy voting equipment and placed that responsibility with the secretary of state. While plenty of other bills were left in limbo as a result of the General Assembly’s abrupt recess, House and Senate versions of the voting equipment bill went the distance and the measure was signed into law by Governor Raimondo last week, according to the governor’s office. But what does it all mean? Officials say the state’s nearly 20-year-old voting machines are sorely in need of an upgrade. The Board of Elections has been talking about replacing the outdated machines for roughly five years amid funding woes and logistical holdups.
Paul Ziriax said Friday that voting in Oklahoma will be very different next year. Ziriax, secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board, said vote-counting technology used across the state will be overhauled by February.
Oklahoma counties use a standardized device that requires the voter to use either a No. 2 pencil or a special pen.
“In the case of absentee ballots, since we can’t send a special pen to every single voter that gets an absentee ballot, that’s why we instruct them to use a No. 2 pencil,” he said.