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Federal Judge Upholds Oklahoma Election Law As ‘Reasonable’

Chris Polansky
A Tulsa County absentee ballot.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday rejected the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s lawsuit challenging the state’s absentee voting rules.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Dowell wrote that the state’s absentee voting rules are “reasonable, nondiscriminatory and legitimate.”

The state Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had challenged as unnecessary barriers to voting state requirements that voters casting ballots by mail have their ballots notarized or include a copy of a photo identification. 

But Dowell ruled the state’s interest in preventing voter fraud outweigh any “minor burden” placed on voters.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a law allowing voters to include a copy of their photo identifications as an alternative to having their ballot notarized if the election was within 45 days of an emergency declaration. In August, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order extending those provisions through the November election.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, whose office defended the law, applauded the judge’s ruling.

“Judge Dowdell rightly concluded that the demands by these political groups would have caused confusion, delay, electoral disruption and increased risks of voter fraud,” Hunter said.

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