Senate Judiciary Committee Approves two measures to protect voter information and improve voting Procedures

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved two measures protecting the integrity of Oklahoma’s election process Tuesday. Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, is the Senate principal author of House Bill 2052 and HB 2056.

Oklahoma is currently authorized to enter into a multistate voter list maintenance organization, such as the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) but has not done so because of serious security and privacy issues. HB 2052 would require multiple protections to be in place before Oklahoma can join any such organization.

“We have yet to enter ERIC because they refuse to accept the reforms many states are demanding. Because of this, a number of states have canceled their membership,” Bergstrom said. “These organizations can offer useful data, but we must ensure that Oklahomans’ voter information remains secure before and after entering such an agreement.”

Not only does the bill contain a number of guardrails to protect voter data, but it also includes an authorization for the Attorney General to take action against an organization that inappropriately shares data, and for joint civil action by the Secretary of the State Election Board, Senate President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House if the Attorney General chooses not to act. The legislation also provides a list of instances that would cause Oklahoma to immediately withdraw from an organization.

HB 2056 stops voters from registering in the same county for 60 days if they voluntarily cancel their voter registration. This bill also allows ballots to be printed on election day if there is a shortage of ballots. Under this measure, voters could also have their voter registration card delivered to a secondary address if they cannot have mail delivered at their residence.

“One provision will stop voters from getting around the blackout period in even numbered years between April 1 and August 31. This exists to keep people from switching parties between a primary and a runoff,” Bergstrom said. “Putting these protections in place will ensure our elections remain secure and that voters are following state laws.”

These measures can next be considered by the full Senate.

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