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Security protections for Oklahoma election workers signed into law

Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, speaks on the House floor.
Oklahoma House of Representatives
Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, speaks on the House floor.

Oklahoma election workers will have new safety protections while working the polls.

Those safety provisions, which come from Senate Bill 481, were signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt last week.

Authored by Tulsa Republicans Sen. Dave Rader and Rep. Jeff Boatman, the bill makes it a crime to harass, intimidate, threaten or "dox" an election worker.

Doxing refers to the act of publishing a person’s address and other personal information online, typically to make the person a target.

"As someone who has personally been doxed and threatened, I can tell you that I and election officials across the state are very, very grateful to the Legislature and the Governor for taking these threats against election officials seriously," said Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax.

Certain election officials will be able to apply for restricted voter records status, in order to prevent their residential addresses from being publicly disclosed.

The new law also makes it a crime to impersonate an election official with the intent to influence the election.

The punishment for threatening and intimidating or impersonating an election official is now a misdemeanor, with a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of $1,000. Subsequent offenses could result in a prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of $2,000.

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Kateleigh Mills joined KOSU in March 2018, following her undergraduate degree completion from the University of Central Oklahoma in December 2017.
Michael Cross has been with KOSU since 2008, working as the state capitol bureau chief for seven years, as well as KOSU's student coordinator. While he still keeps up with the capitol and does some reporting, his roles have changed. As of October 2014, he's now the host of KOSU's Morning Edition.