Thousands of Texas Ballots Rejected for Not Having Valid I.D.

New GOP voter integrity law reveals thousands of mail-in ballots without valid voter identification.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Thousands of Texas voters’ mail-in ballots for midterm primary elections have been rejected for failing to comply with new Republican-backed identification requirements, Reuters reports.
  • Election officials in six of the state’s largest counties, which are collectively home to about a third of Texas’ population, are reporting unprecedented rates of invalid ballots, almost entirely because the ballots do not include an ID number on the envelope, as the new law demands.
  • “We’ve never heard of anything near as high as this,” said James Slattery, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
THE NUMEBRS BY COUNTY:
  • In Harris County, home to Houston and 4.7 million people, 3,475 ballots representing about 35% of those received by Tuesday were not accepted.
  • Officials in Dallas County, the state’s second-most populous with 2.6 million residents, said they were sending back 26% of mail-in ballots, much higher than in previous elections, according to Reuters.
  • Hidalgo election officials reported sending back 189 ballots of the 3,189 they had received, while at this time in the 2018 elections they had returned none.
  • In El Paso County, 270 of the 581 ballots – 46% – received on Tuesday were missing an ID number, said Lisa Wise, the elections administrator.
  • In Williamson County, north of Austin, about a quarter of ballots have arrived with no ID number, Christopher Davis, the election administrator, said.
BACKGROUND:
  • Texas’ invalid ballot revelations come less than two weeks before the state holds the nation’s first primary election in which the Democratic and Republican voters will choose their candidates for the Nov 8 midterm elections that will determine control of the U.S. Congress for the next two years, Reuters notes.
  • The number of rejected votes is certain to rise, given that the majority of mail-in ballots have not yet arrived at clerks’ offices ahead of the March 1 primary.
  • Texas lawmakers approved the voting restrictions last September after a months-long effort by Democrats to block it that included lawmakers fleeing the state.
  • Election ballot scrutiny has increased since President Donald Trump shined a spotlight on voter fraud after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.