A law that goes into effect Nov. 1 will permit electronic voter registration in Oklahoma. This is one of several election reform measures introduced in the Legislature this year by Sen. David Holt. Holt, R-Oklahoma City, said lawmakers took initial steps to address what he calls a “civic participation crisis,” but adds that more needs to be done. “Improving voter turnout is going to be a long process, and the responsibility is by no means limited to policymakers,” he said. “We all have to take ownership.” About 40 percent of registered voters participated on Nov. 4 when Gov. Mary Fallin won re-election over Democratic challenger Joe Dorman. But the true voter participation rate was less than 30 percent, considering how many eligible citizens were not registered to vote.
Holt’s Senate Bill 313 authorizes a secure online system to accept voter registration applications from people with a valid Oklahoma driver’s license or ID card.
The state will be permitted to open a secure website to accomplish electronic voter registration, which could also be done when people apply for driver’s licenses or apply for state aid. Regular paper voter registration forms will still be available.
Bryan Dean, a spokesman for state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax, said a research effort will be undertaken to determine best practices and products for accomplishing the goals of the legislation and to see what it would cost.
He said more than two dozen other states have electronic registration systems.
“They’ve proven to be secure and solid,” he said.