Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Court rules notarized ballots not needed


OKLAHOMA CITY — Voters who cast absentee ballots by mail in Oklahoma do not have to have their ballots notarized by a notary public to be valid, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that a statement signed, dated and made under the penalty of perjury by a voter is adequate for submitting an absentee ballot by mail.

The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma and two voters at high risk of contractin­g the coronaviru­s sued the State Election Board last month seeking to make it easier for residents to cast absentee ballots by mail.

The plaintiffs included an emergency room nurse in Oklahoma City and a 68-year-old cancer survivor with asthma who wish to cast absentee ballots by mail but said they didn’t want to risk leaving their homes unnecessar­ily to interact with a notary public.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said that while he respects the court’s decision, he said it “leaves Oklahoma without a means to verify the person who signs an absentee ballot is the same person to whom the ballot was issued.”

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