Oklahoma launched its long-awaited online voter registration system Tuesday, giving prospective voters ample time to submit a fully digital application ahead of the 2024 presidential election cycle.
Oklahomans who hold U.S. citizenship, are at least 18 years old by the next election day and have a valid driver’s license or state identification card may use the online registration portal, State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said in a written statement. The Legislature first authorized the election board to create the online system in 2015, but technical snags in cross-checking voter registration information and motor vehicle data delayed full implementation for several years.
Beginning in 2018, the state allowed prospective voters to fill out a registration form online but required them to print out the sheet and deliver it to their county election board office. Oklahoma now becomes the 41st state in the U.S. to allow its residents to register completely online, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Ziriax said in the press release that the system allows people to submit the form electronically via desktop or mobile device and that the system had undergone testing to ensure its security.
County election officials will manually review online registration applications and mail out ID cards upon approval. Those whose applications are initially rejected will also be notified.
Voting access advocates in Oklahoma have long called on the state to expedite its launch of online voter registration, noting its effectiveness in boosting voter participation and reducing administrative costs in other states. For instance, Kansas saw voter application transactions double in the weeks after it released its online registration system in 2009.
Lynn Skaggs, president of the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, said the organization is optimistic the streamlined process will aid voter registration efforts in the coming months, particularly among young voters. Youth voter turnout in Oklahoma has lagged in recent election cycles, with just a quarter of voters ages 18-30 participating in the 2022 midterm election and less than 10% casting a ballot in the March 7 special election to decide State Question 820.
“This is something that has been on our radar for a long time,” Skaggs said. “It’s more accessible, it’s more efficient, and of course you have the younger generation coming up who is used to doing all of these kinds of processes online.”
Registered Republicans and Democrats statewide will go to the polls on March 5, 2024 to vote in presidential primary elections. Some voters have special election and proposition elections approaching this year. The OK Voter Portal provides upcoming election dates by precinct.