Oklahoma attorneys respond to absentee voting lawsuit
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Attorneys for the state of Oklahoma responded to a lawsuit filed last week that seeks to make it easier to vote by mail, saying changing absentee voter requirements would jeopardize the security and integrity of the state’s elections.
The lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters seeks to allow voters to submit a signed statement under the penalty of perjury with their mail-in ballots, rather than requiring an affidavit signed by a notary public.
Oklahoma’s voter identification law, however, requires voters to show a driver’s license or identification card when voting at a polling place, according to The Oklahoman. The voter ID law was overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2010 and was upheld by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
The state’s lawyers said in a court filing that given the specifics of the state’s absentee voting process and legislative history, “it would be absurd to now open the gates and provide for no verification for absentee ballots, but still requiring in-person voters to present a valid proof of identification.”
Other civic engagement and voting rights groups have asked Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax to relax the notary requirement for absentee ballots.
Attorneys for the state said Oklahoma’s Legislature specifically intended for the notarization requirement to be a requisite of absentee voting, and only the Legislature can relax that requirement.