State Senator John Ford said he is gratified that Oklahoma is continuing to pursue ways to further ensure the integrity of the state’s election process. Ford, who represents Washington, Nowata and northern Rogers counties, was the author of a state question requiring voters to provide identification when casting their ballots. The proposed law was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2010.
This session Ford authored legislation dealing with notary publics and absentee ballots following charges against a notary public accused of fraud in Adair County. Senate Bill 1466 limits how many absentee ballots a single notary can notarize and prevents notaries from requesting or mailing those ballots unless they are for themselves or someone in their household. It also requires them to keep a log of all notarized absentee ballots for two years following an election. The measure was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor earlier this month.
“The voter fraud case in Adair County has now ended with the notary public involved having pled no contest,” Ford said. “I’m very pleased that law enforcement and prosecutors have this crime on their radar, and that Oklahoma voters, legislators and our Governor are concerned about it as well.”
Ford worked with state and local election officials on the legislation, which was co-authored by State Senator Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah. Wilson said before SB 1466, a single notary could easily obtain enough absentee ballots to change the outcome of local elections.
“This legislation will help curtail this kind of abuse and fraud,” Wilson said.