New voting law for higher rejection of mail-in ballots


Election officials for Harris County, Travis County and Bexar County say they are rejecting a large number of mail-in ballot applications for the March 1 primary. The counties include Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, respectively.

Under the new voting law, voters must include either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on their applications. Those numbers are then matched with the voters’ records. For a voter to be approved for a mail-in ballot, the numbers must be the same.

However, not every voter remembers which number they had given initially while registering to vote, due to which the application got rejected.

Harris County has rejected 208 of 1,276 applications, county communications director Leah Shah told CNN.

Shah called the rejection rate a “red flag”. He also noted other aspects of the restrictive voting law — including a provision that prevents election officials from sending unsolicited mail-in voting applications that would include information on how to properly fill out the applications — meant that Voters are left with little help.

“We have our hands tied as far as what we can and cannot tell the public [mail-in ballot applications]Shah said.

Meanwhile, the Travis County elections clerk said he has rejected nearly half of the nearly 700 applications, according to the Texas Tribune. CNN reached out to the Travis County Clerk for a comment.

Republican Secretary of State John Scott called the rejection rate in Travis County “astonishing” before calling on the county to re-examine the applications.

“We ask Travis County to promptly review and reexamine mail ballot applications to determine whether they were processed in accordance with state law, to reinstate eligible voters and minimize any disruption.” Those who have submitted their application properly. Vote by Mail. We are eagerly awaiting the results of their reprocessing of these mail ballot applications,” Scott said in a statement Friday.

Scott urged county officials to reach out to his office for assistance “on the correct method of processing mail ballot applications.”

According to the Tribune, in Bexar County, officials rejected 200 applications that didn’t fill out the ID section and another 125 were rejected because the voter provided his driving license number, which was not on file. Was.

In other counties, officials are also rejecting mail-in ballots at an alarming rate.

The absentee coordinator in Denton County, Sidney Compton, told CNN that voters there are using older applications that do not include the ID section. Compton said the county has received fewer than 200 applications and nearly 50 denied it.

In the process of correcting their applications for voters across the state, the election officials send them a rejection letter along with a fresh application with an explanation of the missing information. Voters can either send a fresh application or correct the information through a new online portal, as per the guidance of the Office of the Secretary of State and election officials.

This is the first election cycle in which the new voting law is in effect since it went into effect last September. The bill was part of a national push by Republicans to shut down access to ballot boxes over the blatant lies of Trump’s 2020 election.

Texas already has restrictions in place for who is eligible for mail-in ballots. Under the law, people over the age of 65, out of county on election day or have a disability or illness that prevents them from voting in person are eligible.

Voting rights groups are now calling on voters to be proactive in educating themselves on the new voting law.

“In the meantime, we urge all Texans to be your own advocates for your freedom to vote,” Stephanie Gomez, Associate Director of Common Cause Texas, said in a statement Friday. “Plan to vote and think of contingency plans so you can still vote even if you hit one of the barriers created by SB1.”

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