Rep. Elise Hall advances proposal to allow permanent absentee voting
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Published: 07-Feb-2015

OKLAHOMA CITY – Voters could apply to become permanent absentee voters under a measure approved by the Oklahoma House Elections and Ethics Committee on Wednesday (February 4).

State Rep. Elise Hall, R-Oklahoma City, is author of House Bill 1559. She said the intent of her legislation is to improve the absentee ballot system and encourage greater voter participation.

“The current absentee ballot process forces individuals to apply for a ballot each and every election,” said Hall, R-Oklahoma City. “That can be a real hardship for traveling voters, nursing home residents and other incapacitated individuals. It makes more sense to allow people to apply for a permanent absentee status so that they can receive ballots for each election in which they are eligible to vote.”

The legislation has specific language requiring all applications for absentee ballots made by military service members overseas to be considered permanent absentee ballot applications.

Rep. Hall said she was concerned about “an archaic absentee ballot system” preventing military service personnel from voting: “We are looking out for them in this bill.”

The legislation also provides for the automatic cancellation of absentee ballots if the postal service returns ballots undelivered to the county election board.

“We have to make it possible to eliminate ballots that are not arriving at their destination because of a change of address or similar issue,” Hall said.

The legislation was approved by a 7-0 vote and thereby becomes eligible for consideration on the House floor.  

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