The Woodward News

October 31, 2012

Early voting begins on Friday

Gary Engel
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Is something going to keep you from being able to make it to the polls on Nov. 6?

You can still cast a ballot through in-person absentee voting, which will be offered Friday, Saturday and Monday at the Woodward County Courthouse.

"This system helps people who can't vote on election day for whatever reason," said Carol Carrell, secretary of the Woodward County Election Board.

Carrell said that a 2-person, bipartisan Absentee Voting Board will be on duty to help voters with the in-person absentee voting process on all 3 days.  To participate, voters need to visit the Election Board office in the courthouse basement between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, or 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

"The in-person absentee voters fill out an application at the office," Carrell said. "They are not required to give a reason why they're voting absentee. But they are required to swear on the form that they have not voted with a regular mail-in absentee ballot, and that they will not vote at their polling place on election day."

Carrell said that while in-person absentee voting seems popular, it has never surpassed actual election day ballot totals in Woodward County.



PROVISIONAL BALLOT SOMETIMES REQUIRED

Carrell said that some voters may be directed to cast what's called a provisional ballot.

"Voters who don't have proof of identity, or whose name on the voter registration record does not match what's on their proof of identity, will have to vote by provisional ballot," she said.

She noted that a primary reason why names don't sometimes match up is because of marriage.

To verify registration, Carrell said prospective voters may call her office, (580) 256-3609, or check the State Election Board Polling Place Locator website, http://www.ok.gov/elections/ppl/index.php and enter requested information. The voter's name will then appear as it is shown in the voter registration database.



TOO LATE TO CHANGE REGISTRATION INFO

It's too late for a voter who wishes to change their name or other information, such as address, that is listed on their registration records for this election. Carrell said their new information has to be submitted at least 24 days prior to an election date.

She said people who have moved, but failed to update their voter registration with their new addresses, may go back to their previous polling locations to vote.  Those voters are then encouraged to complete a new registration for future elections.

This vote also comprises a provisional ballot, Carrell said.

"Provisional ballots are reviewed by Election Board officials," she said. "There are specific guidelines that are followed to determine if a ballot is valid."

Election boards have 3 days to determine the validity of provisional ballots before releasing the official voting results on the Friday following the election.