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Opinion

January 30, 2009

Extend voter times but leave ID rule out

The turnout in the November General Election was relatively high but was not quite a record for Oklahoma. One way to bring out more voters would be to extend the in-person absentee period.

Gov. Brad Henry said he's in favor of adding some election days. Currently, voters can cast ballots at their election boards on the Friday and Monday before the election. If it's a federal race involved, a Saturday voting shift is added.

But state Republicans told The Associated Press any change in election reform would have to include a proposal requiring voters identification at the polls.

That's a sure fire way to disenfranchise and turn away potential voters. Believe it or not, some individuals do not carry photo identification. The poor who rely on public transportation or the elderly who no longer drive may just give up on casting their ballot.

The cases of non-registered voters casting ballots are rare. The election's integrity is more often challenged at the registration process or through folks who vote twice -- once by mail or in-person absentee -- and then again on election day.

Oklahoma's professional election system is one of the nation's best. States look to Oklahoma for leadership on how to run elections. Let's not try to fix what's not broken.

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