Be virtually present at the polls by virtue of your absentee ballot
We wrote last week about getting registered to vote by the Oct. 9 deadline. So, now that you’ve taken care of that, you may wonder, “If I’m going to be out of town on Nov. 3, can I still vote?” or “I don’t want to be around a bunch of people at my polling place, can I still vote?” or “Where can I get the best cheeseburger in OKC?” While we may be able to help you with the latter at some point (and frankly, this is quite the burger town if you haven’t noticed, so it’s hard to go wrong; the flip side of that is people can get quite militant about their personal favorites and preferred styles. It’s worse than getting into a debate about the pros and cons of various regional barbecuing idiosyncrasies, but we digress), this article will address the ways you can vote without physically going to your polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3 if that’s your preference.
- Vote early at your county election board: you can vote early at the county election board where you’re registered from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday (Oct. 29-30) before the election, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 31 – “Happy Halloween; I’m dressed up as a voter!,” is what you’ll undoubtedly cheerily note upon entering; don’t expect much reaction from the election board workers because it won’t be the first time they’ve heard it). We here at TBL HQ have voted early at the county election board a ton, and it’s less crowded than your polling place could be in a presidential election year (depending on the time of day, of course).
- Vote by mail by requesting an absentee ballot at the OK Voter Portal: You need to submit a request by Friday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m., but officials are asking people not to wait until the last minute to both request as well as submit their ballots. You need to submit a verified absentee ballot affidavit along with your ballot when voting absentee; special COVID-related rules this year stipulate that this requirement can be satisfied by completing and signing your affidavit envelope, and then stapling, taping or paper-clipping a copy of a valid ID to the outside of the envelope. Get more info on this process here. The county election board must receive your ballot by 7 p.m on Election Day to be counted, and the postal service is recommending you get that sucker in the mail one week before Election Day to be on the safe side. You can also hand-deliver you own ballot (but not someone else’s) to the county election board during normal business hours if you don’t want to bother with the mail; but if you choose this route, you must get it to the office the day before the election.
If you decide you just wanna vote the regular way and sport that sticker, you can check your polling place location at the OK Voter Portal, as well as view sample ballots and more. And take some time to do some research on what and for whom you’re voting. It takes more than research than simply voting for whomever you keep seeing on yard signs, mailers or who seems to pop up (or down) on your social media feeds to be the best citizen you can be!