Government

Election Office mails out 2,390 absentee ballots for 2018  general election

For the 2018 general election, the Osage Nation Election Office mailed out 2,390 absentee ballots to Osage voters on April 30.

Voters must ensure their ballots are filled out and mailed back to the Pawhuska Post Office by the June 4 election day to be counted.

The 2,390 absentee ballot count is another record for the Election Office under the current ON reformed government. In the 2017 special election, 2,070 absentee ballots were requested and 1,123 of those ballots were received by the March 20 election day to be counted.

Alexis Rencountre, ON Election Supervisor, said the mailed-in absentee ballots will be collected and kept in a locked box at the Pawhuska Post Office until 10 a.m. of election day. At that time, election staff will retrieve the ballots – with an ON police escort – and the ballots from June 1-2 early voting days will also be retrieved from the Election Office vault during that same timeframe.

Early voting will be held at the Election Office at 608 Kihekah in Pawhuska.

Rencountre delivered an April 17 presentation on ON elections to the Osage Impact group at their request. With three days until the absentee ballot request deadline, Rencountre reported at the time 2,285 absentee ballot requests were received and 867 of them are from Oklahoma voters.

Like the 2017 election, this year’s election will be conducted in-house and the Election Office will continue using the election equipment services of Texas-based Hart Intercivic.

“We started using them in 2016, they’re currently used by the state of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation. We use what is called the Verity voting system, which is the most advanced voting system they have on the market,” Rencountre said. “By contracting with Hart, we save money by bringing the election service in-house. When I first started working with the Election Office way back in 2010, the cost to run elections, just for the election service itself, was $22,000 and now it’s under $10,000.”

All absentee ballots are mailed from the Election Office and Rencountre encourages voters to contact the office as soon as possible in the event a requested absentee ballot does not arrive. “If you haven’t received your ballot or somebody you know hasn’t received a ballot or you see somebody post on Facebook that they have not received their ballot yet, if you could let them know they need to contact the office, we can send them a duplicate ballot,” she said.

The Election Office toll-free number is (877) 560-5286 and email address is electionoffice@osagenation-nsn.gov

The Election Office also keeps a Facebook page and posts updates at “Osage Nation Election Office.” As of May 4, the office reported on Facebook it received 23 absentee ballots at the post office. This ballot count is based on the business reply postage reports received from the post office.   

In-person voting hours

- Friday June 1 at the ON Election Office: Noon to 7 p.m.

- Saturday June 2 at the ON Election Office: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

- Monday Election Day June 4 polling place will be the ON Museum: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.