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DECISION 2020: Tulsa County voter worried about postage for absentee ballots

Posted at 6:40 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 09:27:19-04

TULSA, Okla. — A record number of Oklahomans are voting absentee this presidential election.

Over 300,000 voters requested absentee ballots so far and state election officials said nearly all of them have been sent.

Martha Yeats is one of these voters. Multiple sclerosis will keep her from the polls on Nov. 3. So, her husband, Jim, hand-delivered her absentee ballot to the post office.

"I want my wife's vote to count," Yeats said.

Yeats addressed Martha's ballot envelope to the Tulsa County Election Board and posted it with a forever stamp.

"And they said 'no,' Yeats said. "This won't get delivered. I... I just couldn't believe it."

According to the United States Postal Service's website, postage for a standard envelope starts at $0.55 and an over-sized envelope is $0.70.

A USPS spokesperson told 2 Works for You via email, the Postal Service requires election officials to inform voters of the amount of postage required.

"My gosh, I didn't know that," Yeats said. "Nobody knew that. None of my friends knew that."

The Oklahoma State Election Board said "postage is required" and "is clearly marked on the green return ballot."

They said the stamps included on the ballot sent by the county election board is a good indicator how many a voter should include on the return ballot.

The Tulsa County Election Board said voters should use two stamps "just to be safe."

But Yeats' is still worried. He fears potential misinformation in the mail stream may cost someone a vote.

"At least there is somebody at the post office, the clerk who helped me, she wouldn't deliver it." Yeats said. "She said 'No, this is not deliverable.'"

A USPS spokesperson added in her statement:

"If a return ballot is entered into the mailstream with insufficient postage, it is the Postal Service's policy not to delay the delivery of mail-in ballots...the Postal Service will deliver the ballot and thereafter attempt to collect postage from the appropriate Board of Elections."

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