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Absentee ballot requests due Feb. 18 for Primary Election voting

Osages planning to vote by absentee ballot in the April 4 Osage Nation Primary Election must request their ballots by Feb. 18.

In the 2022 Primary Election, there will be three candidates running for Principal Chief and three candidates also running for Assistant Principal Chief. The two candidates in each race who receive the most votes will then be placed on the June 6 General Election ballot.

Certified candidates running for Principal Chief are incumbent Geoffrey Standing Bear and current Congress members Joe Tillman and Speaker Angela Pratt. Assistant Principal Chief candidates are Joseph Thornton, Thomas Trumbly and current Congressman RJ Walker.

Absentee ballot request forms are available for downloading and printing from the Wahzhazhe Elections Office website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/elections/voter-information

Constituents can also obtain absentee ballot request forms from the Election Office at 608 Kihekah in Pawhuska. The Election Office can be reached toll-free at (877) 560-5286 for questions and to receive copies of absentee ballot request forms. The office also provides forms for voter registration, updating a mailing address and information on participating in the voter privacy program. 

According to the Osage Election Code, “Any qualified voter (enrolled Osage Nation member age 18 and older whose name is listed on the voter registry) shall be entitled to vote by absentee ballot, and may request the absentee ballot application provided by the Office.”

Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre discussed the absentee ballot timeline with the Wahzhazhe Elections Board at its January meeting. She said the Election Board is scheduled to approve the ballot language during a special meeting on Jan. 31. She then said, “we will start printing ballots on Feb. 11, if not sooner, and absentee mailing starts Feb. 18 with a usually large mail drop date.”

At its December 2021 meeting, the Election Board voted to hire Broken Arrow-based printing company Target Marketing Print and Mail Solutions to print election information, including absentee ballots and mailing materials. Once the printed election materials are received in the Election Office, staff will mail out the requested absentee ballots from the Pawhuska Post Office starting on Feb. 18.

Once voters receive their absentee ballots, the Election Office recommends that voters mark their ballots and mail them as soon as possible back to the Pawhuska Post Office address printed on the postage-paid envelope provided to be counted on Election Day. Instructions for mailing an absentee ballot will accompany the ballot materials.

The Osage election code also allows eligible voters who received absentee ballots in the mail but instead wish to vote in-person may do so, but the absentee ballot must be surrendered on Election Day or the voter must sign an affidavit stating they requested an absentee ballot but did not vote it. 

Absentee ballots mailed to any address other than the printed address designated by the Election Board shall be considered void, according to the election code.

All mailed absentee ballots will be kept at the Pawhuska Post Office until early processing as determined by the Election Board and remaining absentee ballots arriving after early processing will be picked up by election officials with an ON Police Department escort on Election Day. Those absentee ballots will then be transported to the polling site to be counted with in-person ballots.

The in-person polling place for the 2022 elections will be the ON Civic Center in Pawhuska at 1449 W. Main St.

Primary Election early voting will be held Friday, April 1 (noon to 7 p.m.) and Saturday, April 2 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Election Day voting will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.   


By

Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2022-01-31 00:00:00

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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