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. Key’s resolution states the federal government should "cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.”
Unanimous voteAbout 20 people watching in an adjoining room stood and applauded when committee members voted 12-0 to pass the measure. The committee also passed a resolution that would let voters decide in November whether to change how statewide vacancies are filled. Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, said his measure covers all statewide offices except those on the Corporation Commission; they are defined in a separate section of the state Constitution. Under Reynolds’ proposal, if any major office is vacated before the end of the officeholder’s term, the position would remain unfilled until the next general election. General elections are held in even-numbered years. The governor now is allowed to appoint a successor. All measures now advance to the House.