What Oklahomans Need To Know Before Election Day, Early Voting

Tuesday, October 27th 2020, 9:43 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

TULSA, Okla. -

As the presidential election is one week away, and Tulsa County is two days from the start of early voting, there are some things you need to know before you cast your ballot. 

Some voters who work during voting hours may be able to take paid time off work to go vote.

A Tulsa attorney said the law is in place to encourage people to vote even if they're at work. If employers don't cooperate, they can get in trouble.

As ONEOK Field gets ready to host thousands of voters for early voting this year, lawyers want everyone to know they have rights when it comes to getting off work to vote early or on election day.

"Everyone should vote, and it's an Oklahoma law you can have up to two hours off compensated to go vote," said attorney Tim Gilpin.

Gilpin is a Tulsa attorney specializing in areas like wrongful termination. He said there are some rules to the statute.

You must be a registered voter, you must give your employer three days' notice before the day you want to vote, and the employer can pick the day and time.

The paid time off also doesn't count if you have three hours before or after your shift to go vote.

That means if you start work at 10 a.m. or later or get off at 4 p.m. or earlier, you can't get the two hours of paid time off because the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"If an employer breaks the law and treats the employee poorly or fires them, they need to find an attorney like myself," said Gilpin.

Employers are subject to up to $100 fine, but Gilpin said if an employee is fired because they take the time off, it may qualify as wrongful termination.

Meanwhile, the Tulsa County election board said it's sent out more than 74,000 absentee ballots as of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"We've sent out a record number of absentee ballots," said Gwen Freeman with the election board. 

The board also expects a huge voter turnout when early voting starts on Thursday.

Tulsa County voters can cast their ballots early on Thursday, Friday and Saturday only at ONEOK field where there is plenty of room to spread out. Election day is on Tuesday.