In 2021 and 2022, Oklahoma saw a number of pro-voter measures passed, including joining ERIC, authorization for the use of e-pollbooks, expanding early voting, and expanding access to the polls for disabled and elderly voters. However, in 2022, the state passed a slew of anti-voter bills which includes prohibiting the use of private funds for election administration and establishes criminal penalties for violating the law, expanding the crime of “absentee ballot harvesting” to include delivering absentee applications or requests using official letterhead for an elected official or candidate, stricter ID requirements, and more. The anti-voter measures unfortunately far outweigh the pro-voter measures passed, which is why Oklahoma received a C- on this year’s progress report.
Where Oklahoma Started in 2020
- Automatic Voter Registration: No
- Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
- Same-Day Registration: No
- Restoration of Rights: Parole and/or Probation Disenfranchisement
- Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
- Electronic Registration Information Center Member: No
- Early Voting Opportunities: In-Person Absentee
- ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required
Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Oklahoma as of 2020, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other bottom tier states.
How Our Tier Compares:
2021: Two Years Ago
The Legislature passed two important changes to improve election administration and also took minor steps to increase voter access for in-person early voting.
- S 710 authorizes the state to join ERIC to help maintain the accuracy of its voter registration lists.
- S 712 authorizes the state to use e-pollbooks.
- H 2663 shortens the timeframe for voters to request absentee ballots by eight days, but it also expands the days and hours early voting is offered.
2022: This Past Year
During the 2022 session, the Legislature made a few changes to increase ballot access for small subsets of voters.
- H 1711 allows blind voters to receive their absentee ballot electronically.
- S 714 expands the timeframe for absentee voting board members to deliver ballots to voters residing in nursing facilities.
However, most of the election laws Oklahoma passed this session aimed to further restrict voter access.
- H 3364 requires voters to include an ID number on their absentee ballot application. If the voter’s information and ID number does not match their information on file in their registration record, the application will be rejected.
- H 3365 revises voter list maintenance and voter registration procedures, including adding new instances when voter registrations may be immediately canceled without following the waiting periods required by federal law.
- H 2974 requires the State Board of Elections to complete a yearly review of voter registrations to check for locations with more than ten registrations. Counties that are notified of these locations in their jurisdiction must immediately forward the registrations to the county district attorney for investigation and potential voter fraud prosecution. Although the bill does include important exceptions for multi-unit residences, such as assisted living facilities and military housing, it unnecessarily targets low-income and vulnerable voters as potential criminals based solely on a shared living situation.
- H 3046 prohibits the use of private funds for election administration and establishes criminal penalties for violating the law. It does allow the state and counties to accept donations that “are not directly related to the administration of elections” with prior approval by the governor and written notice to the House speaker and Senate president.
- S 523 prohibits state and local election officials from entering into consent agreements related to election procedures, it allows the legislature to intervene in any suit related to election procedures, and it bars the governor and other state and local election officials from altering election procedures in any way that is not expressly allowed by state law.
- H 3321 expands the crime of “absentee ballot harvesting” to include delivering absentee applications or requests using official letterhead for an elected official or candidate.