Voters in Delaware County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the Special Election on January 13, 2009 should apply now, County Election Board Secretary Dixie Smith said today.  Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 Smith urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early.

Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 225 South 5th Street in Jay.  The absentee ballot application forms also can be downloaded and printed from the Internet at

 “At least two mail transactions must be made,” Smith said.  “The County Election Board must mail the ballots to the voter and the voter must return the voted ballots by mail.”  Ballots must be in the hands of the County Election Board by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

Smith said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he or she is eligible to vote.  It is not necessary to give a reason —or excuse—for voting absentee.  “While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several excuses and it is to the advantage of some voters to use one of them,” Smith said.  By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, these voters can activate some special conditions that make it easier for them to use absentee ballots.

The reasons are:

    —Voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may vote absentee.  They may apply only by mail or by fax.

    —Voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may vote absentee.  An Absentee Voting board actually goes to the nursing home a few days before the election, sets up a small polling place and allows these persons to vote under circumstances similar to those at a regular precinct polling place.  They may apply only by mail or by fax.

    —Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and the spouses and dependents of each group are eligible to vote absentee without being registered.  These voters may apply only by mail or by fax.  Military personnel should contact the Voting Service Officers in their units for application forms and additional information.  Residents of Oklahoma living overseas can obtain the same materials from any United States military installation and from United States Embassies and Consulates.  Military personnel and overseas citizens also can download and print the appropriate application form from the Internet at