State Watch

New provision the main reason Texas mail ballots were rejected in primary: research

A new voting provision on ID numbers was the main reason that Texas absentee applications and mail ballots were rejected in the state’s primary elections in March, according to a study released on Thursday.

More than 6,000 absentee ballot applications and 20,000 mail ballots were rejected in the 2022 primaries due to a new requirement included in a Texas voting law passed in 2021, according to new research from the Brennan Center for Justice.

The provision of Texas’s Senate Bill 1 — passed in the wake of unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election — required voters to write their driver’s license number or partial Social Security number on both their application for a mail ballot and the envelope of the actual mail ballot itself.

An incorrect or missing ID number was the main reason that absentee applications and mail ballots were rejected in the primary. Ninety percent of mail-in ballots that were rejected were done so for that reason.

For those who had their mail ballot application rejected, almost all — 98 percent — did not vote in the primary.

The Brennan Center noted that the new rule allowed for the rejection of applications and ballots if, for instance, a voter listed their driver’s license when registering to vote but their Social Security number when applying for or submitting a mail ballot. 

The study also expressed concerns about the placement of the ID number on the ballot envelope. With the form located under the envelope’s flap for privacy reasons, the Brennan Center said some voters may not have seen the new requirement. Others may also have assumed it was optional, the center noted.

The rejection rates due to S.B. 1 were also higher among voters of color, the study found. Nonwhite voters were at least 47 percent more likely than white voters to have their ballots rejected due to the new voting requirements.

Combined with application rejection rates, Black and Latino voters were more than 30 percent more likely than white voters to have their application or ballot tossed due to S.B. 1, while Asian voters were more than 60 percent more likely to have their application or ballot rejected.

Updated at 1:59 p.m.

Tags absentee ballots election fraud claims Texas Voting Voting laws
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