Texas election officials rejected one of eight mail-in ballots during the March primary, which resulted in more than 24,000 votes that were not counted in the final results.
According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, data from all 254 counties in Texas show that 24,636 mail-in ballots were rejected and 198,947 were returned. This is a rejection rate of 12.4%.
The rejection rate was fairly similar in the party line, but the rejection rate in the Democratic ballot was slightly higher. Of the rejected ballots, 14,281 were Democratic Mail ballots, 12.9% were cast, and 10,355 were Republican ballots rejected, 11.8% being cast.
The rejection comes months after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a petition Sweep the new voting law Which has imposed new requirements on voters who cast their ballots.
The law, known as SB1, required voters to provide a driving license number, personal ID number or the last four digits of their social security number when applying for and returning a mail ballot. The number must match what was in the voter registration file.
County election officials Earlier, he told CBS News And After elementary The selection that the new ID requirement imposed by SB1 caused many problems with the mail-in ballot. The secretary of state did not respond to a request for comment on the final number, but a spokesman told CBS News after the preliminary that counties had reported to the state that the “huge majority” of mail ballot rejection stemmed from ID requirements.
Texas has one of the strictest requirements for postal voting in the country. To be eligible to cast just one mail ballot, a voter must be at least 65 years of age or older, ill or disabled, expect to give birth within three weeks of election day, outside of the county during early voting and on or on election day. Jail but otherwise eligible to vote.
The primary rejection rate is much higher than in the 2020 presidential election, when Texas rejected 8,304 mail ballots out of 982,362 – or 0.8% of those who voted, according to a report by the Election Assistance Commission.
James Slaterry, a staff attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, said: “This is a 12-fold increase in the number of votes cast in the state by the rejection of mail compared to the 2020 election.” “It’s clear that the only reason SB1 has imposed these unnecessary new requirements on the mail ballot is actively depriving Texas voters of their right to vote.”
The initial rejection rate is raising concerns among some franchisees, who believe the turnout in the November general election will be much higher.
“It was at an early stage, with fewer voters and a higher percentage of experienced voters,” said David Baker, CBS News contributor and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research. Tweet. “We should be very concerned about what will happen to the many more ballots cast by new and inexperienced voters.”
Other states including Georgia and Florida, Made similar ID requirements for requesting or casting mail ballots. The results of the rejection from Texas are increasing the call for mass voter education efforts so that people know what is needed to count their ballots.
“We are very concerned about what this information indicates for the upcoming midterm elections,” said Kathleen Unger, president and founder of Voterriders, a group that supports voter ID education efforts. “These results show more than ever how important it is for all parties to educate voters about what they need.”
Slaterry said public education efforts could help reduce the number of rejections, but he worries that county election officials will have a difficult time in November when they are working on a larger number of mail ballots that may not meet requirements.
“I’m concerned that the huge amount of votes we see this fall through mail applications and ballots, let alone the 2024 presidential election, will only overwhelm the system,” Slater said. “Any changes and alterations that you can make from now until November, or any mechanism that exists to try to help voters through this process, will collapse under a much larger vote in the general election.”
After the legislature passed SB1, Abbott said in a statement that the law would “strengthen confidence and trust in our election results by making voting easier and harder to cheat.” Texas State Senator Brian Hughes, who wrote SB1 Hughes, said during the debate on the Senate floor that the bill would make it “easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
Abbott and Hughes have not yet responded to a request for comment.