Osage Nation election officials retrieved the absentee ballots mailed to the Pawhuska Post Office at 11:40 a.m. to be transported to the Civic Center where the June 1 Election Day polling place is located.
With an Osage Nation police escort, the absentee ballots mailed in for the 2020 General Election were collected in a metal box at the post office. An ONPD officer “shall be present whenever voted ballots are transported to verify the chain of custody,” according to the Election Office policies and procedures.
Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre, along with Election Board member Terry Hazen arrived at the post office shortly after 10 a.m. for retrieval of the ballots, but the post office staff was not finished sorting the morning mail. The election officials, along with accompanying ONPD Officer John Drexil, returned to the Civic Center pending an update from the post office when the mail would be ready for pick-up.
They returned to the post office shortly after 11:30 a.m. Rencountre signed for the metal box, which was locked immediately after it was released. Hazen recorded Rencountre as she attached two padlocks to secure the box for transport.
Drexil carried the box to his cruiser for transport to the ON Civic Center for the absentee ballots to be counted with in-person ballots.
By 1:39 p.m., Rencountre said 200 Osages voted during Election Day in-person voting.
As of May 28, the Election Office reported that it received 1,651 absentee ballots. The Election Office received mailing updates from Business Reply Mail Post Office postage reports. Absentee voters are instructed to mail their marked ballots in postage-paid envelopes supplied with the absentee ballot.
In April, the Election Office mailed a total of 2,921 absentee ballots to voters who requested them and to those on the permanent absentee voter list.
Also, the Election Office reported voter turnout at 143 who came to the May 29-30 early voting days. On May 29, a total of 83 voted and 60 voted on May 30.
The complete number of absentee ballots and voting breakdown will be published in an upcoming Osage News article.