Senate votes to protect election integrity in Oklahoma
Mike Seals - March 3, 2021 10:43 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma has been praised as having one of the best and most secure election systems in the country. On Wednesday, the Senate overwhelmingly supported legislation prohibiting any state official, agency or local government from altering election procedures through legal agreements or court settlements that conflict with state election law.
Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, said he authored Senate Bill 523 to protect the integrity of Oklahoma elections by preventing the questionable and unethical election actions that took place in other states during the 2020 presidential election.
“Last year, we witnessed one of the most controversial and debated elections in our country’s history. Officials in other states overstepped their authority making last minute changes through administrative and executive actions to their states’ election processes without legislative approval, putting into question the fairness and accuracy of their results,” Paxton said. “Oklahomans can be confident in our state’s election system, and this bill further solidifies that our state’s election system will never be changed except through legislative action.”
Paxton said he was also concerned with growing efforts at the federal level to control state elections.
“Currently, the federal government is already working on legislation, H.R. 1, to take over control of state elections. This bill would directly impact and destroy the reforms we’ve passed in recent years to protect the integrity of our elections, like verifying voter identity. We must protect ourselves from federal overreach that seeks to ruin our secure system,” Paxton said.
SB 523 passed along party lines, 37-8. It now moves to the House where Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore, is the principal House author.