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Oklahoma state Senator proposes big election changes

An Oklahoma state Senator has proposed big changes to the way Oklahomans vote.

Senator David Holt has filed a package of nine bills and a joint resolution he says are designed to increase voter participation.

"Oklahomans are patriotic, but our voting record is undermining that reputation. Our plunging levels of civic participation are reaching crisis levels," Holt said in a release.

"This is an important conversation our state needs to have. This matters because it influences everything else. Oklahomans hand over billions of dollars to government, and they need to stand up and be a part of this process or they likely won't care for the results. Our republic cannot survive if these trends continue. I believe this package of bills, individually and collectively, would increase Oklahoma's turnout."

Holt's biggest suggestion would send a ballot to each registered voter that they could then mail back.

Another bill would create a "top two" voting system where candidates would go into a pool of options for a first vote in August, then the top two in that group, regardless of party, would go on to a vote in November.

The other bills would move all elections to a vote in the spring or fall, allow you to register online, vote in person if you miss the 25-day deadline for registration, allow voters to be permanently placed on the absentee voter list, modernize aspects of the absentee voting process, expand early voting and lower the signature threshold to get parties and candidates on the ballot.

The joint resolution would lower the amount of signatures needed to get an issue on the ballot.

Many advocacy groups complained in 2014 that Oklahoma's requirements for getting an issue on the ballot were overly burdensome.

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