Community , Government

New absentee ballot request forms available from ON Election Office

New absentee ballot request forms are now available from the Osage Nation Election Office for Osages who will not be available to vote in-person during the 2018 tribal election year.

The new absentee ballot request form asks voters to check one of two boxes identifying themselves as a permanent absentee voter to request absentee ballots for all upcoming Osage elections or as a temporary absentee voter to only request an absentee ballot for the 2018 Osage elections.

ON Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre said the absentee ballot request forms are available for downloading and printing from the Election Office website at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/elections. Rencountre said her office will begin advertising information on the upcoming elections starting in September.

Next year, the offices for Principal Chief, Assistant Principal Chief and six ON Congressional seats will be up for grabs in the June general election. There will also be a spring primary election if more than two candidates file for candidacy seeking Chief and Assistant Chief. Ahead of the election-related deadlines, the Election Board recently approved a new absentee ballot request form for voters to submit updated address information.

“If you’re a temporary absentee voter, your absentee ballot request expires at the end of the year of that calendar year, so anybody that voted (as an absentee temporary voter) in 2017, their request has expired, so they are going to have to fill out a new request, which is why we prefer people to request to be a permanent absentee voter,” Rencountre said.

“Our temporary absentee voters are basically people who realize they are going to be out of town during the election dates,” Rencountre said, noting the office received calls from people who said they were at their vacation homes or had other plans during past election days when their absentee ballots did not arrive. The Election Office also sends absentee ballots to Osages living outside the United States or who are incarcerated.

Election Board Chairwoman Shannon Lockett said she encourages Osage voters to contact the office if they are unsure whether they are permanent absentee voters or temporary absentee voters “that way people aren’t filling out a permanent application if we already have one in place.”

Rencountre said voters can also contact the office to check on absentee voter information on file and update it, if necessary “and we will get it taken care of for them.”   

In the March 20, 2017 special election, the Election Office mailed out 2,070 absentee ballots to Osages who requested them to vote on two questions listed on the ballot. According to the certified special election results, 1,123 of those absentee ballots were mailed back to Pawhuska by March 20 to be counted toward the results, which came from across the United States and other countries, including Brazil.  

The ON Election Office is located at 608 Kihekah in Pawhuska and can be reached at (918) 287-5286 or toll-free at (877) 560-5286.