Democrats sue State Election Board over absentee ballots

  • Absentee ballots
    Absentee ballots

OKLAHOMA CITY – The State Election Board and its chief executive officer, Secretary Paul Ziriax, have been sued to prevent enforcement of “several burdensome restrictions and procedures that threaten to deny countless ... lawful, eligible voters” the constitutional right to vote and to have their ballots counted.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Oklahoma’s Northern District federal court in Tulsa by the Oklahoma Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Democrats want the court to:

• prohibit the Election Board from rejecting absentee ballots that are not in compliance with a newly enacted “notarization/witness/ photo ID” requirement “so long as the voter has signed his or her ballot affidavit” under penalty of perjury.

• require the Election Board to provide prepaid postage on all absentee ballots.

• forbid the Election Board from rejecting ballots that are

postmarked by Election Day and arrive at their respective county election board within seven days.

“Because of the risks of voting in person in the midst of this unprecedented public health crisis, states that have held elections since the [coronavirus] pandemic began have experienced dramatic increase in voting absentee by eligible voters,” the lawsuit contends, pointing to Ohio and Wisconsin as examples.

Unless the court strikes down the measures the State of Oklahoma has imposed for voting absentee, “these barriers will force voters to choose between their health and the health and safety of their community on the one hand, and their fundamental right to vote on the other,” the plaintiffs allege.