Oklahoma citizens who wish to partake in the democratic process and cast votes during elections are mandated to present a government issued ID card, according to a published report.
As required by a 2010 vote, the law specifies that IDs hold the name of the voter and must match the name under which they are registered to vote, The News-Star reports. The ID must hold a photograph of the bearer and the card also must have an expiration date that is beyond when the election occurs.
But there are several exceptions.
ID cards for seniors ages 65 and older do not have expiration dates. Voters are permitted to use their voter registration IDs, which might not include a picture of the bearer.
The state election board presents voter registration cards free of cost.
Voters who refuse to display their ID cards or if they are not in possession of an ID card may be permitted to cast ballots by provisional ballot. However, they will be required to complete an affidavit that provides an explanation as to why their vote should be included as part of the democratic process.
That provisional ballot then would be isolated in an envelope that is sealed until the election is over. Those ballots are then probed as methods of ensuring they were cast by a registered voter whose eligibility is valid. Should those provisional ballots be determined as valid, they are included as part of results for the certified election.
Secretary Paul Ziriax with the Oklahoma State Election Board said mandating voters have ID cards has not proved to reduce the pace of the election process.
"We haven’t seen instances where requiring IDs has slowed things down," Ziriax told the news source, noting fewer than 200 provisional ballots were probed for the primary in late June, almost all of which were validated.
The election laws mandating the use of ID cards were passed as a strategy of staving off election fraud.
But executive director Ryan Kiesel with American Civil Liberties Oklahoma said the ID cards have made voting more difficult.
"We haven't seen this issue of fraud that people have hyped up," Kiesel told the news source. "I think the real problem is a lack of voter participation, not fraudulent participation."
A recent election in Oklahoma saw voters in Shawnee choose Wes Mainord, who unseated incumbent Linda Peterson late last month, The Tecumseh Countywide News & The Shawnee Sun report.