As the country gears up for next year’s presidential election, there’s a local race causing concern.
A McAllen woman is now suing the state after she says her mail-in ballot was unfairly denied.
Rosalie Weisfeld tells CBS 4 she’s voted in every election in the last 30 years, but when her ballot was rejected this year in a McAllen run-off, she called the Texas Civil Rights Project for help.
“The state’s failure to provide any kind of ability for a voter to challenge a rejection of their ballot is unconstitutional,” Ryan Cox, one of Weisfeld’s representing attorneys, says.
Texas’ State Election Code doesn’t require anyone to tell you that your mail-in ballot has been rejected until ten days after the election.
“I’m sure it’s happened for many, many years since the voting by mail took place,” says former Secretary of State Carlos Cascos.
In a lawsuit filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project, Weisfeld says her ballot was denied because the signatures on it didn’t match.
“The downside is you do have humans who are looking at this who are not handwriting experts, they’re just regular folks like us that are making a judgment call as to the similarity of the signatures,” Cascos says.
She says she wasn’t given a chance to prove otherwise, and couldn’t vote in a McAllen city runoff election because of it.
“We talk about how important it is to vote, and how our right to vote is sacred, and my right to vote was denied. Unfortunately, I’m not the only person, I’m not the only voter that this happens to. My hope is that I’m going to be the last voter to ever receive a rejection letter,” Weisfeld says.
Former Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos says it’s a difficult problem to resolve, but that that the lawsuit’s argument that one vote could make a difference in a single election isn’t far off and it’ll take some strong legislation to change it.
“Logistically, what is going to be the mechanism to try and contact 1500 people or whatever the number is within a relatively short period of time?” Cascos says. “When it comes to local races, whether it’s a Justice of the Peace or a Constable, County Commissioner, a mayor, city council member wherever in the Valley, a handful of votes can make the difference and we’ve seen that a handful of votes have either won or lost elections.”
Cox says they hope that the state will reconsider notifying voters whose ballots have been rejected in order to give them a fair shot to vote.