Central Texas mail-in ballots potentially in jeopardy even after election day

Due to new identification requirements, applications for mail-in ballots are being rejected by...
Due to new identification requirements, applications for mail-in ballots are being rejected by election offices in some of the state’s largest counties.(Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 7:11 PM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - With election day in the rearview mirror, it remains unclear how many Central Texans were unable to vote because their mail-in ballot was invalid.

It’s become a race against the clock for many Central Texas voters who had an issue with their mail-in ballots. With thousands of votes around the state in jeopardy because they failed to comply with stricter ID requirements for voting by mail.

Mary Duty with the democratic party of McLennan County says this led many to try and find a ride to their elections office on election day or skip voting at all.

“In one instance, a daughter was able to drive into town, get her mother for a doctor’s appointment, and came up with a solution,” she said.

“However, if the daughter hadn’t been able to come into town, her mother wouldn’t have been able to vote. Those most fragile voters out there, those WWII veterans sitting in a wheelchair, those people that truly are up in year and physically unable to get out of bed, they were cut out of the vote.”

Thankfully, they’re not alone. Jared Goldsmith with the McLennan County elections office says voters will have until March 7 to cure ballots that were found defective because they did not include newly required ID numbers.

“The two things we’ve been doing is calling voters and we’ll mail a notice to them,” he said.

“So, if you’ve received one of those notices or the phone call, you have six days after the election to come into our office and correct that error.”

The word has spread. Both Goldsmith and James Stafford with the Bell County elections offices have reported voters calling back or stopping by in person to correct their ballot. However, with runoffs in May and the primary election coming up in November, Stafford adds what’s most important for mail-in voters is starting the application process early.

“If you’re interested in doing a ballot by mail for those elections, I definitely encourage you to start that process early and not waiting to the last minute,” he said.

“Another thing we can do to increase the odds of success is on that identification number, you can include both the last four digits of your social and your driver’s license number.”

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