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Why Texas election officials are rejecting hundreds of vote-by-mail applications

时间:2022-08-05 07:49来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

Why Texas election officials are rejecting hundreds of vote-by-mail applications


A poll worker in Austin, Texas, stamps a voter's 2020 ballot2 before dropping it into a secure box. Ahead of the state's March primary, local election officials in Texas are starting to deal with the effects of the new GOP-backed voting law.

Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Several counties in Texas have reported rejecting hundreds of vote-by-mail applications in the past week because of confusion over new ID requirements created by a Republican-backed law that went into effect last month.

The Texas law, known as Senate Bill 1, requires that people provide either a partial Social Security number or a driver's license3 number on their application for a mail-in ballot — and that number has to match the identification on their voter registration4.

The problem is this: A lot of people don't remember what form of ID they put on their registration. That's especially true if they registered to vote decades ago.

James Slattery, senior staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, says it was obvious this new rule was going to create a huge headache for voters and local officials — which is why he warned state lawmakers about it this past summer.

"It is easy to see the needless chaos5 and mass disenfranchisement that requiring this matching process will create," he told a Texas House committee in July.

Under SB 1, not having matching ID information is grounds for rejecting that ballot application, which is what officials in Texas say they've been forced to do lately.

In Austin, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says a lot of voters have been tripped up by this new rule.

"This is all brand new," she told reporters on Tuesday. "This is all because of SB 1. These are new obstacles for voters. They have never had to deal with this kind of problem in the past."

In a press release last week, DeBeauvoir's office said it had "rejected about fifty percent of applications for ballot by mail that have been received for the March 1, 2022 primary election."

"Many other counties are experiencing the same high rejection6 rate," officials wrote.

According to the San Antonio Report, officials in Bexar County also found problems with half the ballot applications they received. Williamson County and Houston also reported similar issues.

"This is literally7 the exact thing that I and many other civil rights groups warned about," Slattery said.

In a press release Friday, the Texas secretary of state's office urged Travis County to "immediately review and re-examine the mail ballot applications in question." State officials said they were surprised to see "an unusually large percentage of applications for a ballot by mail" had been rejected by some counties.

Not many Texas voters can vote by mail

All this confusion is having the biggest impact on the few groups who are even eligible9 to vote by mail in Texas in the first place.

Texas' vote-by-mail program is among the most limited in the country. Only voters who are out of town, over 65 or disabled are allowed to use a mail-in ballot.

Bob Kafka, a coordinator10 with a disability rights group called Rev8 Up Texas, says organizations like his are already fielding a lot of questions about this issue.

"The questions we are getting is, you know, 'What do I put in? How do I do that?' " he said.

Kafka says the new Texas voting law created a slew11 of new hurdles12 for people like him. Besides these changes to vote by mail, there are new rules for people who need assistance at the polls. Among other things, voting assistants have to fill out new paperwork and are subject to criminal penalties if they help a voter in ways they did not clear with officials beforehand.

Kafka says all these changes just make it harder for people with disabilities to vote.

"We feel that we have been targeted by the legislature to suppress the disability vote," he said. "Whether intentionally13 or not, that is exactly what the reality is."

Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes, SB 1's sponsor, did not reply to a request for comment about the ballot application rejections14.

Election officials feel "hamstrung"

Travis County's DeBeauvoir says the most frustrating15 part of the new law is that she can't even communicate with voters about how to fix their application.

A provision in SB 1 says local officials can "make no attempt to solicit16 a person to complete an application for an early voting ballot by mail, whether directly or through a third party." Violating that is a state jail felony that carries a mandatory17 minimum of six months of imprisonment18 and a fine of up to $10,000.

DeBeauvoir said she's "hamstrung."

"A state jail felony is nothing to thumb your nose at," she said. "You know, I would have preferred to tell voters exactly what to do. But I think under the circumstances we are going to have to rely on the community and the parties to help solve the problem that the legislature created."

Before announcing the rejected ballots19, DeBeauvoir said she had been waiting for guidance from state officials on what to do to make sure eligible voters don't get their applications rejected. On Tuesday she said she's been turning to state databases and has been able to cure some applications that she said she first rejected.

Sam Taylor, assistant secretary of state for communications, says his office has been working as fast as they can to give clear guidance to counties on how to cure rejected ballots — as well as all the other changes that were implemented20 under the new Texas voting law.

SB 1 — which amounts to a massive overhaul21 of the state's election code — wasn't passed until this past fall during a second special session.

Taylor says the secretary of state's office has been under a serious time crunch22.

"There are a lot of new forms to update, a lot of new guidance to provide," he said. "And this guidance in particular, I think from our elections division they have told me this is the longest, most comprehensive guidance they have ever had to issue."

For now, the secretary of state's office is directing voters to a brand-new state ballot tracking website if they want to fix their ID information or check the status of an application.

DeBeauvoir says, so far, the state's website doesn't have complete data.

Ultimately, voting groups are advising people ahead of the primary election in March to fill out both their Social Security and driver's license numbers on their application. That way, one of them is bound to be right.


1 transcript JgpzUp     
  • A transcript of the tapes was presented as evidence in court.一份录音带的文字本作为证据被呈交法庭。
  • They wouldn't let me have a transcript of the interview.他们拒绝给我一份采访的文字整理稿。
2 ballot jujzB     
  • The members have demanded a ballot.会员们要求投票表决。
  • The union said they will ballot members on whether to strike.工会称他们将要求会员投票表决是否罢工。
3 license B9TzU     
  • The foreign guest has a license on the person.这个外国客人随身携带执照。
  • The driver was arrested for having false license plates on his car.司机由于使用假车牌而被捕。
4 registration ASKzO     
  • Marriage without registration is not recognized by law.法律不承认未登记的婚姻。
  • What's your registration number?你挂的是几号?
5 chaos 7bZyz     
  • After the failure of electricity supply the city was in chaos.停电后,城市一片混乱。
  • The typhoon left chaos behind it.台风后一片混乱。
6 rejection FVpxp     
  • He decided not to approach her for fear of rejection.他因怕遭拒绝决定不再去找她。
  • The rejection plunged her into the dark depths of despair.遭到拒绝使她陷入了绝望的深渊。
7 literally 28Wzv     
  • He translated the passage literally.他逐字逐句地翻译这段文字。
  • Sometimes she would not sit down till she was literally faint.有时候,她不走到真正要昏厥了,决不肯坐下来。
8 rev njvzwS     
  • It's his job to rev up the audience before the show starts.他要负责在表演开始前鼓动观众的热情。
  • Don't rev the engine so hard.别让发动机转得太快。
9 eligible Cq6xL     
  • He is an eligible young man.他是一个合格的年轻人。
  • Helen married an eligible bachelor.海伦嫁给了一个中意的单身汉。
10 coordinator Gvazk6     
  • The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, headed by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, coordinates all UN emergency relief. 联合国人道主义事务协调厅在紧急救济协调员领导下,负责协调联合国的所有紧急救济工作。
  • How am I supposed to find the client-relations coordinator? 我怎么才能找到客户关系协调员的办公室?
11 slew 8TMz0     
  • He slewed the car against the side of the building.他的车滑到了大楼的一侧,抵住了。
  • They dealt with a slew of other issues.他们处理了大量的其他问题。
12 hurdles ef026c612e29da4e5ffe480a8f65b720     
n.障碍( hurdle的名词复数 );跳栏;(供人或马跳跃的)栏架;跨栏赛
  • In starting a new company, many hurdles must be crossed. 刚开办一个公司时,必须克服许多障碍。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • There are several hurdles to be got over in this project. 在这项工程中有一些困难要克服。 来自辞典例句
13 intentionally 7qOzFn     
  • I didn't say it intentionally. 我是无心说的。
  • The local authority ruled that he had made himself intentionally homeless and was therefore not entitled to be rehoused. 当地政府裁定他是有意居无定所,因此没有资格再获得提供住房。
14 rejections 159b16c2797ee6b20f045c2047ca4afc     
拒绝( rejection的名词复数 ); 摒弃; 剔除物; 排斥
  • Most writers endure a number of rejections before being published. 大部分作家经历无数次的退稿才守得云开,作品得到发表。
  • Supervise workers and monitors production quality to minimize rejections. 管理工人,监控生产质量,减少退货。
15 frustrating is9z54     
adj.产生挫折的,使人沮丧的,令人泄气的v.使不成功( frustrate的现在分词 );挫败;使受挫折;令人沮丧
  • It's frustrating to have to wait so long. 要等这么长时间,真令人懊恼。
  • It was a demeaning and ultimately frustrating experience. 那是一次有失颜面并且令人沮丧至极的经历。 来自《简明英汉词典》
16 solicit AFrzc     
  • Beggars are not allowed to solicit in public places.乞丐不得在公共场所乞讨。
  • We should often solicit opinions from the masses.我们应该经常征求群众意见。
17 mandatory BjTyz     
  • It's mandatory to pay taxes.缴税是义务性的。
  • There is no mandatory paid annual leave in the U.S.美国没有强制带薪年假。
18 imprisonment I9Uxk     
  • His sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment.他的判决由死刑减为无期徒刑。
  • He was sentenced to one year's imprisonment for committing bigamy.他因为犯重婚罪被判入狱一年。
19 ballots 06ecb554beff6a03babca6234edefde4     
n.投票表决( ballot的名词复数 );选举;选票;投票总数v.(使)投票表决( ballot的第三人称单数 )
  • They're counting the ballots. 他们正在计算选票。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The news of rigged ballots has rubbed off much of the shine of their election victory. 他们操纵选票的消息使他们在选举中获得的胜利大为减色。 来自《简明英汉词典》
20 implemented a0211e5272f6fc75ac06e2d62558aff0     
v.实现( implement的过去式和过去分词 );执行;贯彻;使生效
  • This agreement, if not implemented, is a mere scrap of paper. 这个协定如不执行只不过是一纸空文。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • The economy is in danger of collapse unless far-reaching reforms are implemented. 如果不实施影响深远的改革,经济就面临崩溃的危险。 来自辞典例句
21 overhaul yKGxy     
  • Master Worker Wang is responsible for the overhaul of this grinder.王师傅主修这台磨床。
  • It is generally appreciated that the rail network needs a complete overhaul.众所周知,铁路系统需要大检修。
22 crunch uOgzM     
  • If it comes to the crunch they'll support us.关键时刻他们是会支持我们的。
  • People who crunch nuts at the movies can be very annoying.看电影时嘎吱作声地嚼干果的人会使人十分讨厌。
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