|Attention Notaries Public: Absentee Voting Frequently Asked Questions for Notaries Public|
Absentee voting is an easy and convenient way to exercise your right to vote.
Any registered voter in Oklahoma may vote by absentee ballot. It is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.
*Note: If you are a Uniformed Services Member, spouse, dependent or Overseas Citizens you must apply for absentee ballots using the OK Voter Portal or go to http://www.fvap.gov/ to download and complete the Federal Post Card Application.
Title 26 of the Oklahoma Statutes provides that any person who knowingly executes a false application for an absentee ballot shall be deemed guilty of a felony. Any person deemed guilty of a felony under provisions of Title 26 shall, upon conviction, be confined in the State Penitentiary for not more than five (5) years, or fined not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), or both.
How to Apply
Applications for absentee ballots must be made in writing or using the Oklahoma State Election Board’s Online Absentee Voting Application. Absentee ballot application forms are available from all county election boards and from the State Election Board. Or, download a form here.
You are not required to use the form, however. You may write a letter to your county election board to apply for absentee ballots. The letter must contain the following information.
- your name
- your birth date
- the address at which you are registered to vote
- the election or elections for which you are requesting ballots
- the address to which the ballots should be mailed
- your signature
You may apply for absentee ballots for one election, for several elections or for all elections in which you are eligible to vote during the calendar year in which the application is submitted.
You may mail your absentee ballot application to the county election board, you may fax it or you may deliver your own application personally to the county election board office. (You may not deliver an application for another person, however. It’s the law.) You may scan your signed application and e-mail it to your county election board. You also may send a telegram to apply.
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is always 5 p.m. on Tuesday preceding the election.
Returning Your Ballot
An absentee voter must return his or her own absentee ballot to county election officials.
In most cases, voters return their voted absentee ballots to the county election board by U.S. mail or by a private mail service that has delivery documentation. An absentee ballot must be received by the county election board by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. In 2020, the USPS recommends mailing your voted absentee ballot at least one (1) week prior to the election date. First class postage is required for U.S. mail.
Voters who requested a “standard” absentee ballot (Yellow Affidavit), which is the most common type of absentee ballot, may hand-deliver their own absentee ballot in-person to the county election board during regular business hours. Hand-delivered ballots must be returned no later than the end of business hours on the day before the election, and the voter must show the same identification required for in-person voting. Generally, it is unlawful to hand-deliver another person’s absentee ballot.
Those who requested “physically incapacitated” or “care for physically incapacitated persons” absentee ballots (Pink Affidavit) must return their ballots by U.S. mail or by a private mail service that has delivery documentation.
There are different requirements for special “emergency incapacitated” absentee ballots and for nursing home voters who are visited by an absentee voting board. This information is found below.
In-person Absentee Voting
Voters may cast an absentee ballot in person at the county election board office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday before all elections. For state and federal elections only, in-person absentee voting also is available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. In-person absentee voters must fill out and sign an application form when they arrive to vote.
Although any voter can vote an absentee ballot without giving a reason, the law still contains some “excuses” for voting absentee. Some voters benefit by using one of those excuses when they apply for absentee ballots. These excuses activate special conditions that make absentee voting even easier.
Physically incapacitated voters and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left alone may vote by absentee ballot. These voters may submit their applications only by mail, fax, or by an agent. If these voters choose to have their applications submitted to the County Election Board by an agent, the agent must be at least 16 years old and may not be employed by or related within the third degree by blood or marriage to a candidate whose name is on the ballot.The agent may act for only one voter per election.The agent will be asked to sign a form at the County Election Board office providing his or her name and attesting to these facts. (See New COVID-19 Criteria Qualify As “Physically Incapacitated” Voter for Absentee Voting.)
Physically incapacitated voters and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left alone are not required to have their signatures on the absentee affidavits notarized. They are required to have their signatures witnessed by two people.
Voters in nursing homes in the same county where they are registered voters may vote absentee. They may submit their applications only by mail or fax, or telegraph. An Absentee Voting Board will go to the nursing home a few days before the election to allow these voters to cast their ballots.
Oklahomans who are in the military or who are living overseas and their spouses and dependents may apply for an absentee ballot even if they are not registered to vote. (They must be eligible to be registered, however.) Military and overseas voters may submit their applications only by mail, fax or e-mail. Military voters should contact the Voting Assistance Officers in their units for application forms and information. Overseas voters may obtain the same materials at United States military installations, embassies and consulates, or online from the Federal Voting Assistance Program. (The site will open in a new window.) Military and overseas voters who need to contact their County Election Board in Oklahoma can find e-mail addresses here.
Emergency Absentee Voters
Voters who become incapacitated after 5 p.m. on the Tuesday preceding an election may receive an absentee ballot through special emergency procedures. These voters must make a written request to the county election board. The request must be accompanied by a statement from a doctor that the voter is incapacitated and will be unable to vote in person on election day. The voter’s request and the doctor’s statement must be taken to the county election board office by a person the voter chooses. The person becomes the voter’s “agent.”
The county election board can provide a form to be used for both the voter’s request and the doctor’s statement.
The agent will receive the voter’s ballot and will deliver it to the voter. After the voter marks the ballot, the agent must return it to the county election board office before 7 p.m. election day.
First Responder Absentee Voters
A voter who is deployed within 10 days of an election as a first responder or emergency worker to assist with the rescue, recovery or relief efforts of a declared natural disaster or state of emergency may request an emergency absentee ballot from their county election board. The request must be made in writing and may be made in person at the appropriate county election board.
The county election board can provide a form to be used for requesting first responder absentee ballots.