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Oklahoma panel OKs absentee voting bill

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: February 12, 2009 at 12:32 am •  Published: February 12, 2009
Measures that would change the days of inperson absentee balloting, would let voters instead of the governor fill statewide vacancies and would reign in some of the federal government’s power and authority over states, won approval Wednesday in a House committee.

House Bill 1568 would move early voting to Thursday, Friday and Saturday before an election. In-person absentee voting now is held on Friday, Saturday and Monday before an election.

The measure’s author, Rep. Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon, said the bill would give election workers more time to count every ballot.

His bill also would change the procedure for handling a tie in an election. If passed, the legislation would break the tie by declaring the candidate who won the majority of precincts as the election winner. Right now ties are settled usually by picking a name from a hat.

Rep. Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City, said he filed House Joint Resolution 1003 because many federal laws violate the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states the powers not delegated to the federal government "are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The Constitution lists about 20 duties required of the federal government.