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The Big 2020 Election: Preparing to Vote in Texomland

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The voting process in the U.S. can seem complex. In the first section, I give only the facts that might make understanding the voting process simple and clear up a rumor. Then, I discuss how voting procedures work in Oklahoma and Texas and give contact information for each county in Texomaland. Rumors are running around about a presidential election postponement.

The Facts

1. The date of the presidential election is set by federal law.

2. The procedures for voting are the responsibility of each state.

3. Voting regulations vary greatly among the states.

4. Article II of the U.S. Constitution requires states to choose a number of electors that equal that state’s number of representatives in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. When you vote, you are telling your state electors who to vote for. You are not directly voting for the president. This is known as the Electoral College Process

5. The 12th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution address aspects of voting rights.

6. Congress determines the time of choosing the electors and on which day they can vote which will be the same day across the U.S.

7. The United States Code is the set of laws passed by congress applied to the U.S. Constitution. These laws are also known as federal statutes. Title 3, Chapter 1, of the United States Code spells out the laws applied to presidential elections and vacancies.

8. An Act of Congress is required to change the date that states appoint their electors.

9. In 1845, Congress passed a federal statute declaring the presidential election date as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

10. In order to legally change this presidential election day in 2020, both houses of Congress would have to enact legislation altering Title 3, Chapter 1, Section 1, of the U.S. Code, and the president would have to sign the legislation into law. This statute currently stipulates, "the electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President." (1, 2)

General Information

You can check the Oklahoma and Texas election websites for details about state voting procedures, then check your county election board websites for polling locations. If you are eligible for early or absentee voting, you need to have your applications registered within a certain amount of days before the election in both states. Our military personnel are quite familiar with this process. Be sure you have your paperwork in order before these important deadlines to be counted.

There is more to vote for than the president. Researching your candidates and ballot initiatives has never been easier. Finding out exactly who and what you want to vote for is on the tip of your finger’s mouse clicker. You can write down who and what you want to vote for and take your cheat sheet to the polling booth with you. You find out what is on your local ballot by contacting your county election board.

State Information

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 requires states to provide voter registration opportunities through state agencies that provide public assistance and services.

Oklahoma State Election Board

This site is super easy to navigate. This is some basic information, but everything you need to know to vote in Oklahoma is easy to find on the FAQ site: https://www.ok.gov/elections/faqs.html

You can register to vote if you are a citizen of the United States, a resident of the State of Oklahoma, and at least 18 years old or meet the age requirement to pre-register.

• Pre-registration - Persons who are at least 17½ years old may pre-register to vote in Oklahoma if they meet all eligibility requirements. Applicants who preregister cannot vote until they turn 18 years old and the application has been approved by the applicant's County Election Board. Applicants will be mailed a voter ID card upon approval of their registration. Applications received less than 25 days before an election, in which the applicant has turned 18 and is eligible to vote, will be held and processed immediately following the election.

• Persons Convicted of a Felony – A person convicted of a felony may register to vote when he or she has fully served his or her sentence of court-mandated calendar days, including any term of incarceration, parole or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by any court. A convicted felon who has been pardoned may register.

• Persons Judged Incapacitated - Persons judged incapacitated by a court may not register to vote.

How to Register

You must fill out a voter registration application form. Voter registration applications are available at your County Election Board, post offices, tag agencies, libraries and many other public locations. You will be offered a voter registration application when you get your driver's license and when you apply for assistance at some government agencies.

You may also register to vote using the OK VOTER PORTAL'S VOTER REGISTRATION WIZARD (BETA) to complete your voter registration application online. Then print it, sign it, and mail it to your county election board. You will get a confirmation number that can be used by your county election board to check the status of your registration.

Oklahoma polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election days.

Early Voting:

You can vote at the County Election Board office in the county where you are registered to vote from 8 AM to 6 PM on Thursday and Friday before all elections. For state and federal elections only, you also can vote from 9 AM until 2 PM on Saturday before the election.

Absentee Voting:

How to Apply

Applications for absentee ballots must be made in writing or using the Oklahoma State Election Board's Online Absentee Voting Application. Absentee ballot application forms are available from all county election boards and from the State Election Board. Or, download a form at:

https://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/Oklahoma%20Absentee%20Ballot%20Application%20-%20fillable.pdf

You are not required to use the form, however. You may write a letter to your county election board to apply for absentee ballots. The letter must contain the following information.

• Your name
• Your birth date
• The address at which you are registered to vote
• The election or elections for which you are requesting ballots
• The address to which the ballots should be mailed
• Your signature

You may apply for absentee ballots for one election, for several elections or for all elections in which you are eligible to vote during the calendar year in which the application is submitted.

You may mail your absentee ballot application to the county election board, you may fax it or you may deliver your own application personally to the county election board office. You may not deliver an application for another person. It's the law. You may scan your signed application and e-mail it to your county election board. You also may send a telegram to apply.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is always 5 p.m. on Tuesday preceding the election.

Vote Texas 

https://www.votetexas.gov/

You can register to vote online here:

https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp

You must register to vote in Texas. The following state agencies are designated voter registration agencies:

• Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC):
• Texas Workforce Commission
• Department of Public Safety (DPS); and
• Each public library, including any branch or other service outlet.
• Any other agency or program as determined by the Secretary of State that primarily provides public assistance or services to persons with disabilities.
You are eligible to register to vote if:
• You are a United States citizen;
• You are a resident of the county where you submit the application;
• You are at least 17 years and 10 months old, and you are 18 years of age on
Election Day.
• You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole); and
• You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

If you don’t know if you are registered to vote, you can use this information to confirm your status:

• Your Texas driver’s license number, if you provided it when you applied for voter registration;
• Your Voter Unique Identifier (VUID), which appears on your voter registration certificate;
• Your first and last name.
You can find your:
• Voter registration status
• Poll location
• Early voting locations
• Registration information
• Key Election Dates

Here: https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do

How to Vote:

This site explains all the information you need or that your county may use to collect ballots. There is a drop-down menu for selecting your county.

https://www.votetexas.gov/voting/how.html

Step-by-step instructions for using:

• Paper ballot
• Optical scan voting system
• ES&S AutoMARK
• AccuVote®TSX
• ES&S iVotronic
• Hart InterCivic eSlate

Early Voting by Mail

You must submit an early voting application before you can receive a ballot by mail before the early voting dates.

You may vote early by mail if:

• You will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting;
• You are sick or disabled
• You are 65 years of age or older on Election Day
• You are confined in jail, but eligible to vote

You can get a formal application for a ballot by mail from your county election board or:
Download an application for a ballot by mail here. (PDF)

You may send in your application for a ballot by mail by:

• Regular mail
• Common or contract carrier
• Fax only if a fax machine is available to the Early Voting Clerk
• Email: Send a signed, scanned application as an attachment to an email sent to the early voting clerk

The Early Voting Clerk must receive your marked ballot by 7 p.m. on Election Day or by the 5th day after Election Day if your ballot is submitted from outside the United States.

Texoma County Election Boards

The county election board sites offer contact information and more, but you can talk to a real person on the phone or contact by email if you cannot find what you need on the state election board websites.

Texoma Counties in Oklahoma

Bryan County: https://www.durant.org/339/Voter-Registration 580.924.3228

Love County: https://love.okcounties.org/offices/election-board 580.276.2242

Marshall County: https://marshall.okcounties.org/offices/election-board 580.795.5460

Texoma Counties in Texas

Cooke County: https://www.co.cooke.tx.us/page/cooke.elections 940.668.5437

Fannin County: http://www.co.fannin.tx.us/page/fannin.Elections 903.583.7488 

Grayson County: https://www.co.grayson.tx.us/page/vote.home 903.893.8683

 Definitions of Voting Terms

  https://www.usa.gov/voting-and-election-definitions

 Sources

1. https://www.archives.gov/electoral-college/provisions

2. https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-cant-cancel-or-postpone-the-november-election-over-coronavirus-2020-3



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Lake Texoma Fishing Report from TPWD (Sep. 16)

GOOD. Water lightly stained; 82-86 degrees; 0.68 low. Striped bass and white bass are good on live bait and topwater baits when fish are near the surface. Diving birds are marking feeding schools on the surface throughout the lake. Use sonar to mark schools along the river channel and flats. Schools are constantly moving with the bait. Largemouth bass are fair fishing Texas-rigged plastic worms and diving crankbaits in 16-28’ with some fish being caught in shallow water early in the morning. Top waters, chatter baits, and poppers are catching fish in these shallow areas. Crappie are fair on minnows by boathouses, timber and brush piles in 15-25’. Catfish are fair on cut bait, prepared bait, and live bait.