House District 45 battle continues amid challenger's complaints of 'irregularities'
AT A GLANCE
Proof of Identitiy
The law requires any document used for proof of identity for voting to contain the following information:
The name of the person to whom it was issued
A photograph of the person to whom it was issued
An expiration date that is after the date of the election
The following documents may be used for proof of identity for voting:
An Oklahoma driver license
A state identification card*
A military identification
*A state identification card issued to a person 65 years of age or older does not have an expiration date but is, by law, a valid proof of identity for voting.
Source: State of Oklahoma
Despite the House District 45 race being called for Republican incumbent Rep. Aaron Stiles by 16 votes after the Nov. 15 recount, the battle for the district continues.
Stiles’ challenger, Democrat Paula Roberts, filed a petition alleging irregularities in the Nov. 6 election, which was amended by Robert’s attorney Nov. 19, claiming state voting procedures are unconstitutional. The petition’s hearing began at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Judge Tracy Schumacher’s courtroom at the Cleveland County Courthouse, lasting until it was recessed at 6 p.m.
The hearing will pick up again at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Greg Bledsoe, Roberts’ attorney, centered his arguments on the handling of provisional ballots, highlighting seven provisional ballots in particular in which people gave addresses different from their registered address.
Through questioning, Bledsoe had Anette Pretty, assistant election board secretary, walk the court through the entire provisional ballot process. A voter may vote a provisional ballot if the voter arrives at the polling place without an accepted identification card, Pretty said.
Acceptable identification cards include state-issued, federal-issued and tribal-issued cards that have name, photograph and an expiration date. While many of these do have an address on them, the address on the card is not required, Pretty said.
Without any of these cards, the voter must submit a provisional ballot if the voter wishes to vote.
“Once the voter has filed a provisional ballot, it goes into a secrecy envelope,” Pretty said. “And that into an affidavit [envelope] that is filled out by a polling worker.”
The instructions for handling the provisional ballots is located in the provisional bag in the form of a checklist, Pretty said.
After collection and secure storage, the process of researching the provisional ballots begins.
Research involves checking the affidavit envelope with the state database. If the database address and the affidavit envelope address did not match, Pretty was instructed to not count that vote, she said.
Bledsoe argued the rule that these two should match is unsupported by state statute and is unconstitutional because people voting with provisional ballots were receiving different treatment.
Bledsoe also questioned Lisa Shrieves, Cleveland County election board chair, about counting absentee ballots and reconstituting “spoiled ballots,” including ballots unreadable by the machine because they were emailed from military members overseas.
It’s unclear who would receive the seven contested ballots if they were counted, but Bledsoe alluded to further issues, saying he would be amending the petition for a third time before Friday.