I always loved grading my own tests in school. It always seemed both Johnny(my seatmate) and I got better grades when we graded our own than when the teacher made us exchange tests for grading. The recent ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court on a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters that removed the requirement for notarization of voter absentee ballots and allows voters to simply ‘self-notarize reminds me of those days grading my own test.
Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said, “This decision effectively leaves Oklahoma without a means to verify that the person who signs an absentee ballot affidavit is the same person to whom the ballot was issued.”
The Oklahoma legislature got busy this week and quickly passed SB #210. Authored by Senate President Pro Tempe Greg Treat, (R-OKC) and Speaker of the House Charles McCall, (R-Atoka), SB#210 reinstated the notary requirement for the November general election. It also requires absentee voters in the June 30, 2020 primary election to include a photocopy of their photo ID with their ballot. No notary is required. Waiving the notary requirement for the primary due to the pandemic seems unnecessary and could promote voter fraud. Three thoughts:
First, Oklahoma has one of the best election processes in the country. The optical- scan voting machines utilized in the Sooner state provide a voter-verifiable ‘paper trail,’ direct recording electronic machines do not. Voter fraud in Oklahoma is rare, but it does happen. Ten years ago, an Adair county man, known for being a Democrat activist, was charged with two felony counts of false affidavit in voting registration and two felony counts of false notarization of an absentee ballot. He pled nolo contendere and received a three year deferred sentence. He was essentially charged with signing the names of two voters on absentee ballots. If the legislature had not acted as quickly as they did, verification of who is voting by absentee would have been next to impossible and the possibility of voter fraud would have been dramatically increased.
Second, the League of Women Voters is a liberal organization. Originally founded in 1920 to help women gain the right to vote, it has politically moved far from that mission. The League now publicly opposes voter ID laws, supports abortion, universal health care and gun control. Their motivation in opposing notarization of absentee ballots threatens ballot security. Every person who is eligible should be afforded the right to vote, but insuring the identity of the person casting that vote is essential to election integrity.
Third, Democrats in Oklahoma are officially liberal. The vote on SB #210 was along Party lines, with Republicans supporting and Democrats opposing Oklahoma voters to sign their absentee affidavit in front of a notary. The days of ‘conservative’ Democrats in Oklahoma is gone. The elected Democrats in the Oklahoma legislature are philosophically in line with the national Democrats when they in lock step oppose a common sense bill like SB #210.
Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust, but Verify.” That is what SB#210 does. It outlines a process in which voters can cast their ballots by absentee and verification the voter did the casting of the ballot. Why would anyone oppose Voter ID? Because they want to grade their own test.
Steve Fair is chairman of the 4th district of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He can be reached by phone at (580) 252-6284 or by email at email@example.com.