Lake Texoma

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Absentee Voting

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I have a feeling that most of the people reading are active voters. That may be an incorrect assumption on my part, but I want to believe that you participate in elections. I am a half-breed; one-half Texan and one-half Okie. I moved to Texomaland 23 years ago because I wanted to be close to and travel in both states. Football season is especially difficult for a half-breed of my caliber when it comes to choosing which college team to favor. Eight years ago, I changed my domicile status from Texas to Oklahoma, and it proved almost effortless to do so. I worked in Oklahoma more than I worked in Texas at that time. Now, I want to work in Texas.

The process of reinstating a Texas residency takes much longer, due to endless paperwork, and especially in the arena of surrendering a driver’s license and changing license plates from Oklahoma to Texas. I actually had to show the last receipt for my Oklahoma tags to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, before I could go to the Texas Department of Public Safety for a driver’s license after I secured my vehicle’s inspection status. A location on Lake Texoma makes this process much easier. I had a short drive to go from tag offices in Oklahoma to three other places in Texas, in order to finally become a legal Texan again. I only go to town once a month, so it took me a few months to get that chore accomplished.

Anticipating the upcoming presidential election, and unable to register to vote in Texas until I could acquire a Texas driver’s license, I sent for an absentee ballot in Oklahoma County, just in case I didn’t get everything done in time to vote in Texas. I am not in any way, shape, or form discussing candidates, political biases, or the State of the Union; I am just discussing the voting process. I will vote absentee from now on because I made the most educated votes in the history of my political voting career. I sat in front of the internet and researched every candidate, referendum, and petition on the ballot. The ballot arrives in your mailbox. Different election boards and states have different requirements.

Oklahoma sends an affidavit in the form of an envelope, a ballot, an envelope for the affidavit envelope, and a pink instruction sheet. I read and re-read the instructions and failed at understanding them. I mailed the ballot. I called the election board and found out that I needed two witnesses to sign the affidavit envelope with their addresses, but I did not need to notarize the ballot.

The election board representative told me that they already processed my ballot, they cannot mail another ballot to me, and that the election board will make a decision about whether or not to count my vote when they open the absentee ballots. I began asking questions; questions that the representative did not want to answer. She could not tell me what processing my ballot means, when they would be counting the absentee ballots, or when I could call back and see if my vote counted. Then finally, I asked the right question to elicit an answer, because I was not going to let my votes go to waste.

I asked, “So, you’re denying my right to vote based on the fact that I didn’t understand the instructions?” Evidently, rights matter to election boards. “Please hang on for a moment,” she replied. Looking back, I should have used the term privilege. The election board mailed me another affidavit, I will return it, and they will try to match it to my ballot. I guess that is the best I can hope for from 160 miles away. Next time I vote absentee, I will call the election board before I mail the ballot.

Because I claim to be a Texoman, I am equally interested in what happens politically in both states. One referendum on the November 8 ballot in Oklahoma is particularly important to me, which swayed my decision to vote Okie, but in the next election, I will vote absentee in Texas. You still have time to vote absentee in two ways.

If you call your election board and ask to have a ballot mailed to you, you will receive one as long as you are registered to vote. Be sure to ask the date that must be postmarked on it in order for your vote to count. Or, you can pick up and deliver an absentee ballot in person, which is the best choice if you live in your county seat, because the chances are that you drive right by your local election board on a regular basis. It is not as if we live in Dallas, have to fight traffic, and pay for expensive parking.

How many times have you stood in a voting booth and thought to yourself, “I have no clue what this person will do in office if they win,” or “I never even heard of this proposition!”

Absentee voting, my friends, is the way to vote intelligently!


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Lake Texoma Fishing Report from TPWD (Jul. 18)

Water lightly stained; 85–89 degrees; 0.66’ high. Black bass are fair on Texas rigged craws, topwaters and deep diving crankbaits. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Striped bass are good on slabs and topwaters. Catfish are fair on trotlines and punch bait.