May we see your ID?

Opinion:  Much is batted about regarding the need to identify voters via government-issued identification cards or passports. Some say it disenfranchises potential voters; others reflect that identification is needed for many other assistance or medical interactions. So why not voting? I’m in the latter group, but I have a specific legal reason why.   

I am an Oklahoma Notary Public. I am frequently contacted to help people complete documents related to family (wills, trusts, children’s permissions, medical), business (Powers of Attorney, verifications of documentation), insurance, or transfer of property.

I’m also asked to verify I-9 employment forms for remote workers. ALL of these require the Notary Public to identify the person signing the paperwork as the correct and valid signer. That identification is made via government-issued picture I.D., usually driver license or passport.  Everyone who ever does anything that may require a notarization MUST have appropriate identification documents.

And here’s a concern I have encountered which is specifically related to voting…presentation of identification from other states or countries.

In recent months, I’ve been presented drivers licenses from other states by persons who have lived in Oklahoma for several months or longer.  The Department of Public Safety site states: “Drivers with an out-of-state license must apply for an Oklahoma Driver License at the time they establish residency.” That means people who have purchased a home they’re living in, or are permanently transferred here by their company, or who plan to be here for an undetermined period of time and who consider Oklahoma as their state of residence for tax purposes, those people should have updated their driver licenses to comply with the law. (As clarification, this requirement does not apply to students from out-of-state or military personnel temporarily stationed here, unless they expect to remain residents after completion.)

Additionally, “Oklahoma law requires the holder of an Oklahoma driver license or an Oklahoma identification card to notify the Department of Public Safety, in writing, within ten (10) days, of any change in their mailing address, residential address, county of residence, or name change. “

I know. I know. Who pays attention to laws about their driver license when it’s not expired? In my opinion, it should be every law-abiding citizen, but we know how that goes, right?

So what does the fact people are ignoring the requirement to change their driver license have to do with voting? Consider this situation I’ve encountered.

The Notary Public is presented with a current out-of-state ID as proof that the person buying real estate in Oklahoma is who they say they are. That person has established residency in Oklahoma, but their identification is in, say, Florida. That person could potentially still be considered a resident of Florida, while simultaneously be considered a resident of Oklahoma. Under Oklahoma law, that person can present a utility bill for the property they’re residing in as identification to vote locally, AND could potentially obtain and file an absentee ballot from Florida.

I’m not saying someone will do that, but in this election year especially, how would that scenario affect the outcome? And if there is a family of voting age Floridians living in the same household in Oklahoma, how many potential votes is that?


About the author: Karen J. O’Brien of the KanDo Organization LLC provides a virtual business collaborator, transcriptionist, writer and mobile notary in the Tulsa Metro area, click here for more.

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