Group Sues Oklahoma Election Board To Ease Absentee Restrictions

Apr 25, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma and two voters at high risk of contracting the coronavirus are suing the state to make it easier for residents to cast absentee ballots by mail.

The lawsuit filed Thursday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court seeks to allow voters to submit a signed statement under the penalty of perjury with their mail-in ballots, rather than requiring an affidavit signed by a notary public.

The plaintiffs include an emergency room nurse in Oklahoma City and a 68-year-old cancer survivor with asthma who wish to cast absentee ballots by mail, but say they don't want to risk leaving their homes unnecessarily and interacting with a notary public.

Oklahoma Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said in a letter to the group earlier this week that removing the statutorily-mandated notarization requirement is beyond the scope of his authority and would leave Oklahoma without any way to verify whether absentee ballots are valid.
“Without a means of voter verification in place, election officials could not ascertain that the person to whom an absentee ballot was issued is the same person who voted the ballot and signed the affidavit," Ziriax wrote.

The Supreme Court has not yet set dates for response or oral arguments.