New Texas voting law causing some mail-in ballots to be rejected
DALLAS - There's about one more month left to request a mail-in ballot before the 2022 primary.
Hundreds of requests have come into county offices statewide, and many are being rejected. That's because of a new law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott last year.
The new voter ID requirement on mail-in ballots is starting to cause some issues for elections officials, and voters may not even know their application had an error on it.
The 2022 primary in Texas is less than two months away on March 1.
Voters who chose to vote by mail are requesting ballots. But the new election law signed by Gov. Abbott last year is causing some applications to be rejected.
"This is a brand new process," said Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet. "So voters have never been told that this is required until the legislature passed the law."
The law added an ID component to the mail-in ballot process.
When someone requests a ballot, they must put their social security number or driver’s license on file with their county elections office.
The problem is if both forms of identification aren’t on file and a voter only lists one of them and it’s wrong, the request is rejected.
"And for voters if they registered years ago, they probably don't remember which number they put down," Sherbet said. "If you're one of those couple dozen voters that may not be getting a mail ballot because it gets rejected, it's very important to you. So we need to be very pragmatic of our approach and make sure we're complying with law. But also, we need the state to help direct our counties in a little bit better way possibly to know what our expectations are going to be in terms of getting these things corrected."
Collin County says it’s rejected about 20% of ballot requests so far because of the ID issue.
Statewide, more than 700,000 Texas voters have either just their driver’s license or just their social security on file at with elections offices. More than 100,000 don’t have either.
"I will tell you as the numbers increase of the applications, as they come in and when voters start returning their mail ballots and if they're voting by mail, we could see those numbers fluctuate and increase quite a bit," Sherbet said.
In Dallas County, there’s a different problem. About 40% of requests have been rejected mostly because voters are sending in old applications. The county elections offices have the correct applications on their websites.
The deadline to apply for a ballot is Feb. 18.
Sherbet says his best advice for those requesting a mail-in ballot is to put both numbers down.
"Just in case we only have one of them on our voter file and may only have your social and you gave us your driver's," he said.
It’s unclear how many applications in Tarrant County were rejected.