We are in luck this year. There is only one truly bad bill this year. While a couple of bills might be questionable, none have truly been as bad as Representative Perryman’s latest bill. HB2592 would require all people registering to vote, or updating their registration to register their fingerprints and facial recognition scan with the state.
The bill argues that this is a good thing because it will allow voters to use their fingerprints instead of a photo ID when voting. This unfortunately would cause a lot of problems with voters. It could discourage a lot of people from registering who are uncomfortable with the government taking their fingerprints or facial scans. This is compounded by the fact that these fingerprints and facial scans will be open to law enforcement.
It is unclear what Perryman hopes to accomplish with this bill. This goes well beyond the idea of protecting elections from fraud that came with the Voter ID law that was passed in 2010.
What else is troubling, is that Perryman introduced some arguably great bills this session. Why would he introduce this one along with them?
Of all the bills introduced this session, this is the only one that we will be directly advocating against.
In several states, people are allowed to vote by mail, and some states require mail-only ballots. Representative Perryman has introduced HB2588 which would require all elections after 2020 to be conducted by mail.
Under this bill, county election boards will be required to send all registered voters a ballot between 20 and 14 days before the election. Voters will then have 4 days to complete and return the ballot either in person or through the mail in the required identification envelope, which voters are required to sign.
While voters can already request an absentee ballot and submit that by mail, they currently have to apply and provide a reason for the request. Under this bill, there will be no reason to have an absentee process as everyone will get a mail in ballot.
This bill will give voters an easier time voting at their leisure. It is safe to argue that voting by mail is much easier than in person voting, even with a 60 day early voting period, as Rep. Perryman’s other bill would require.
Oklahoma is currently not very friendly to potential voters who cannot make it to the polls on election day. While we do have a period of early voting, it is only for a few days on the week before the election. While this is good, it does not meet the needs of many potential voters.
In order to make elections more friendly for many more voters, Representative Perryman has introduced HB2589 which will not only increase the time a voter may vote early, but increase the number of places they can do so.
If this bill were to pass, voters will have 60 days prior to an election to submit an absentee ballot. They can also do this any day Monday through Saturday. On top of this, the bill will allow all county election boards to designate other locations for early voting along side the county office.
A full sixty days prior to the election will greatly expand the potential for a greater number of people to vote and result in elections that more closely reflect the will of voters in the state.