The Travis County Clerk’s office reported that it has rejected about half of the applications for an absentee (mail) ballot because of a recent change in law.
A provision of Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) requires for the first time an applicant to provide their driver’s license number or last four digits of their Social Security Number. If that number does not match the one used for the voter’s registration, then the application must be rejected.
“Although we expect more comprehensive guidance from the Secretary of State’s Office in the future, at this time, our office does not have enough information regarding the new online cure process to instruct voters how to cure their application,” the clerk’s office said in a statement. “Additionally, we have not received instructions from the state outlining what our office can do to assist voters in submitting a completed application.”
According to the Texas Tribune’s Alex Ura, about one in six applications have been rejected in Harris Co. About two thirds of those were rejected because the applicant did not provide any identifying number. The number did not match the voter registration information for the other third of rejected applications.
In Bexar Co., officials rejected 125 applications containing the voter’s driver’s license numbers, but those voters registered using their Social Security numbers, so there was no match. Typically, a voter would use only one of those identifications to register to vote, which means the other one would not match. Voters who have not changed residences in a long time may not remember which one they used. In other cases, voters sent in an outdated application form.
How one interprets this data will likely be driven by one’s opinion of absentee voting. Those who believe there is rampant fraud will see this rejection rate as proof. Those who believe the law was intended to disenfranchise eligible voters will see this rejection rate as proof.
Voters looking to confirm their registration or track their absentee ballot request may visit the state’s voter portal or contact their county election administrator or voter registrar. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the primary election is February 18.
HD52 open (Lean R): Texas Alliance for Life PAC endorsed Nelson Jarrin, setting up another primary conflict with Texas Right to Life PAC, which has endorsed Caroline Harris. The two pro-life groups are also at odds in HD62 (Safe R) – TAL for Rep. Reggie Smith (R-Van Alstyne) and TRL for Shelley Luther – and CD38 open (Safe R) – TAL for Wesley Hunt and TRL for Mark Ramsey. They will likely clash in other primary races. In 2020, the groups endorsed different candidates in 16 primary races. The TRL-backed candidate won five times, the TAL-backed candidate won four times, and neither candidate won seven times.
HD108 (Likely R): Former Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt (D-Dallas) endorsed Elizabeth Ginsberg.
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