The Nov. 8 general election is fast approaching. 

Oklahoma Watch has assembled a voting guide to help you navigate upcoming deadlines and prepare to cast a ballot: 

Where can I find my polling place?

You can verify your registration status, check your polling place’s address and request a party affiliation change on the OK Voter Portal website. 

Due to redistricting last fall, your polling location may have changed this year. 

I’m not registered to vote. What is the deadline to apply? 

The deadline is Friday, Oct. 14, three and a half weeks before the Nov. 8 general election. Oklahoma is not among the 21 states, including neighboring New Mexico and Colorado, which offer same-day voter registration on election day. 

You may fill out an application online, but you’ll have to print it out, sign and deliver it to your local county election board office. You may also apply in person. 

I have a criminal record. Can I vote?

If you have a felony conviction, you must complete your full, court-mandated sentence to regain your voting rights. For example, if you were sentenced to five years in prison and released from custody after two years, you must wait five years before applying. 

I turn 18 soon. Can I register before my birthday? 

You can preregister if you’re at least 17 years and six months old, but you’ll only be able to vote if you turn 18 before Nov. 8. 

When does early voting begin? 

Early voting runs from Nov. 2-5. Here’s the schedule: 

  • Wednesday, Nov. 2: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. 
  • Thursday, Nov. 3: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. 
  • Friday, Nov. 4: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. 
  • Saturday, Nov. 5: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

You can find your early voting location here

How do I vote absentee? 

Oklahoma law permits voters to cast an absentee ballot without stating a reason. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Monday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. 

Standard absentee voters, who are not physically incapacitated or living overseas, must have their ballot notarized. Several banks, libraries and nonprofit organizations offer free notary services for absentee ballots. 

I requested an absentee ballot but didn’t send it in. Can I vote in person instead? 

Yes, but you will be required to sign a form swearing that you did not send in the absentee ballot. 

When can I vote on election day? What should I bring with me? 

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

State law requires voters to present proof of identity before casting a ballot. The following are acceptable forms: 

  • State, federal or tribal-issued photo identification 
  • A voter identification card issued by your county election board. You can request a new voter identification card through the OK Voter Portal

If you forgot your ID or there’s a dispute over your eligibility to vote, you may submit a provisional ballot. The ballot will count if election workers can match your identification information with the voter registration database. 

Is my employer required to give me time off to vote?

Yes, but only under select circumstances: 

  • Your polling place and workplace are far apart, necessitating time off
  • You make an oral or written request at least three days prior 
  • There is no three-hour window before or after your shift where the polls are open. 

By law, your employer can opt to change your work schedule to accommodate voting. 

Once inside the polling place, what can and can’t I do? 

Make sure you are not wearing clothing promoting a candidate or voicing support for a candidate within 300 feet of your polling place. This could be considered electioneering, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine. 

You may bring a sample ballot or notes with you, but keep them out of sight from other voters. 

Oklahoma permits voters to take and share photos of their ballot but specifies that voters may not post the images from inside an election enclosure. 

I’ve noticed something unusual at my polling place. How can report it? 

If you believe an election law is being violated, you should notify your precinct officials and county election board as soon as possible, the state election board advises. 

How are Oklahoma election results counted and verified? 

Oklahoma uses eScan A/T voting devices in all 77 counties. Paper ballots are inserted into the device, counted and dropped into a secure bin. The machines are not connected to the internet. 

The state election board conducted an audit of the June primary election results in late July. There was no difference between the manual audit totals and certified election results. State election officials have said they plan to audit the Nov. 8 election results. 

What’s on the ballot?

Oklahomans will vote on governor, two Senate seats and eight statewide executive positions. All five of the state’s congressional seats are also on the ballot. 

State Question 820, which seeks to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma for adults 21 or older, may appear on the ballot depending on an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling. 

Depending on where you live, state legislative or local races may appear on the ballot. Sample ballots will be available on the OK Voter Portal closer to election day. 

This story was produced as part of the Democracy Day journalism collaborative, a nationwide effort to shine a light on the threats and opportunities facing American democracy. Read more at usdemocracyday.org

Keaton Ross is a Report for America corps member who covers democracy for Oklahoma Watch. Contact him at (405) 831-9753 or Kross@Oklahomawatch.org. Follow him on Twitter at @_KeatonRoss.


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