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Trouble brewing over new vote-by-mail rules

Friday, January 14, 2022 by Jo Clifton

A new state law is intensifying the usual controversy about the March 1 Democratic and Republican primaries. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir is planning to hold a press conference Tuesday to explain the problems voters are having trying to get ballots by mail. According to a news release, the requirements of Senate Bill 1, the new Texas voting law, have resulted in Travis County rejecting about half of the ballot applications sent to the clerk’s office. Victoria Hinojosa, executive assistant to DeBeauvoir, told the Austin Monitor that the office had rejected about 350 of 700 requests for mail-in ballots. As the news release explains, the new law “requires applicants for ballot by mail to include either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on their application for ballot by mail. This identification number is then verified against the applicant’s voter registration record.” If the applicant provides an ID number that is not in the voting records on file, “the law requires the application to be rejected.” It is not clear what voters can do to fix their applications and the clerk’s office says it has received insufficient guidance from the Texas secretary of state to help voters.

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