Requests for absentee mail-in ballots rises

Sunday, October 24th 2004, 4:58 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The number of requests to county election boards across Oklahoma for mail-in absentee ballots is up by about 25,000 this year over the 2000 presidential election.

More than 60,000 mail-in absentee ballots will be cast this year, according to an estimate by Michael Clingman, secretary of the State Election Board.

About 77,000 people voted absentee in the 2000 presidential election, but about half were ``in-person'' absentee voters, Clingtman said.

``We don't have the stats to get it pinned down too close, but it seems like every county is reporting big increases in absentees,'' he said.

Clingman sais the Pentagon has made a big push to get ballots to military personnel overseas, ``and that's a part of the increase as well.''

The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Under Oklahoma voting laws, any registered voter in the state may apply for an absentee ballot, and it is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.

A request for an absentee ballot must be in writing and contain the following information.

- Name

- Date of birth

- Address at which the voter is registered

- Election for which ballots are requested

- Address where ballots should be mailed

- A signature

The forms are available at all county election boards and at the State Election Board's Web site,

Voters who miss the mail-in absentee ballot deadline can still avoid long lines at polling places on Election Day with in-person absentee voting.

Voters can go to their county election boards from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. next Friday on Monday, Nov. 1. In-person absentee voting will be available next Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.