About one out of every eight absentee ballots cast in the March 1 primary election was rejected, according to a report by the Associated Press’s Paul J. Weber and Acacia Coronado.
Nearly 23K absentee ballots were rejected, almost all of them because they did not meet the new identification requirements enacted by the Legislature last year. The total is likely higher – the authors were able to obtain data from 187 of the state’s 254 counties. The counties that provided data accounted for 85% of primary voters.
A partisan breakdown was not provided, but the report notes that the “rejection rate was higher in counties that lean Democratic (15.1%) than Republican (9.1%).
Harris Co. published reconciliation reports for each party’s primary on its website. A total of 7,034 absentee ballots were rejected, of which 56% were Democratic primary voters (3,818 ballots) and 44% were Republican voters (3,116 ballots). The county rejected 135 mail ballots cast in the 2018 primary elections.
Dallas Co.’s reconciliation report indicated that a total of 1,057 mail ballots were rejected, but it did not specify the partisan breakdown of those rejections.
Those figures do not include voters whose applications for absentee ballots were rejected and they did not cure the issues with their applications or vote in person.
Provisions of Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) require applicants for absentee ballots to provide their driver license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on the application, and this number must match the one on the voter’s registration. For many absentee voters, that registration card was filled out years if not decades ago. The same information must be included on the carrier envelope used to mail a completed ballot back to the county. The blanks are located under the flap that seals the envelope to protect those numbers from unauthorized eyes.
The law provides means for voters to “cure” any issues with their applications or ballots. Most of the voters whose ballots were rejected “may come to the [county election] clerk’s office in person to correct the defect” pursuant to Section 86.011(d), Election Code. One of the main reasons people vote by mail is because they are physically unable to go in person, rendering the curing process meaningless for them.
SD24 open (Likely R): Reps. Shelby Slawson (R-Stephenville) and David Spiller (R-Jacksboro) endorsed former Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) in the runoff over Raul Reyes Jr.
HD38 (Safe D): Rep. Erin Gamez (D-Brownsville) has been sworn in to serve the remaining unexpired term of former Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville). Gamez was the lone candidate in the special election after winning the Democratic primary. Barring a certified write-in candidacy, she is unopposed for a full term.
HD61 open (Likely R): Texas Right to Life PAC endorsed Paul Chabot in the Republican runoff over Frederick Frazier. As far as we can tell, the group did not endorse a candidate for the primary election.
HD73 open (Safe R): George Green, who finished third in the Republican primary with 10% of the vote, endorsed Carrie Isaac in the runoff over Barron Casteel.
CD15 open (Toss Up): Reps. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) and Mando Martinez (D-Weslaco) endorsed Michelle Vallejo in the runoff over Ruben Ramirez.
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