Analysis shows mail-ballot rejections soared under Texas' tougher new voting law
Rejections were mainly related to confusion or misunderstandings related to the new voter ID requirement.
Approximately 23,000 mail ballots were rejected during Texas' recent primary elections, according to on an analysis by the Associated Press. That’s roughly 13% of all mail ballots from the 187 Texas counties that responded to the AP's survey.
County election officials and the Texas secretary of state’s office say most of the rejected mail ballots didn't follow voter identification requirements that came from the state’s new voting rules, which include requiring mail-ballot voters to use the Social Security or driver's license number that correlates with what they used to register to vote. The most rejections were in the Houston area. Harris County election officials say they rejected nearly 7,000 – or 19% – of mail ballots.
Acacia Coronado, a Report for America reporter for the Associated Press, tells Texas Standard that some voters whose mail ballots were rejected also faced challenges trying to correct their ballots by Election Day.
Listen to the interview with Coronado in the audio player above or read the highlights below.
– The AP sent surveys to all of Texas' 254 counties, but only heard back from officials in 187, who indicated how many mail ballots had been submitted and how many had been rejected.
– The rejection rate during the Texas primary was especially high – at about 13%, compared to Texas' usual rate of about 1%.
– The AP didn't find any meaningful difference in ballot rejections between Republicans and Democrats. Coronado says both parties were affected.
– Most counties told the AP that the reason for a majority of the rejections was voters not following the ID requirement, which was a part of the new law passed in 2021. The law now requires voters to put their driver's license or Social Security number on the ballot that matches the number a voter used to register to vote.
"People had to put whatever they originally registered to vote with, and so some people may not have realized what that was," Coronado said.
– Mail-in voters had the opportunity to fix incorrect ballots. But Coronado says some voters struggled with that process, including one voter who wasn't able to travel to the county offices to correct her ballot because she was elderly and ill.
"Those are very representative of some of the things we heard from voters in Texas when we reached out about their ballots," she said.
If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.