POTEAU—LeFlore County voters who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the April 7 regular municipal elections should apply now, according to county election board secretary Sharon Steele.
Although the county election board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on April 1, Steele urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early.
Absentee ballot application forms are available at the election board office at 103 N. Church Street in Poteau and can be downloaded and printed at www.elections.ok.gov.
“At least two mail transactions must be made,” she said. “The county election board must mail the ballots to the voter and the voter must return the voted ballots by mail.”
Ballots must be in the hands of the county election board by 7 p.m. on election day in order to be counted.
Steele said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he/she is eligible to vote. However, a voter must be registered and reside at an address within the geographical boundaries of a school district or a municipality to be eligible to vote in school district or municipal elections.
It is not necessary to give a reason, or excuse, for voting absentee.
“While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several excuses, and it is to the advantage of some voters to use one of them,” Steele said.
By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, the voters can activate some special conditions that make it easier for them to use absentee ballots. The reasons are:
*Voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended my vote absentee. They may apply only by mail, fax or email.
*Voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may vote absentee. An absentee voting board actually goes to the nursing home a few days before the election, sets up a small polling place and allows these person to vote under circumstances similar to those at a regular precinct polling place. They may apply only by mail, fax or email.
*Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and the spouses and dependents of each group are eligible to receive absentee ballots. Those voters may apply only by mail, fax or email. Military personnel should contact the voting service officers in their units for application forms and additional information or visit the federal voting assistance program website (www.fvap.gov/oklahoma) for more information and instructions. Residents of Oklahoma living overseas can obtain the same materials from any United States military installion and from United States Embassies and Consulates as well as on the FVAP website.