BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Voting in Texas is becoming more complex with new voting restrictions for mail-in ballots, some election officials share how this could impact voter turnout.
“Any steps that go to further confirm someone’s identity are good but you have to balance it against what you’re actually accomplishing when you do that,” said Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza.
Garza said the new mail-in ballot applications are causing confusion amongst residents.
“The Texas legislature required individuals applying for a ballot-by-mail to include a driver’s license, their personal id or election identification certificate number or if they didn’t have that the last 4 digits of their social,” said Garza.
If that information is missing or does not match their voter registration records they will be rejected, according to Garza.
“It’s going to be sad if a lot of people aren’t able to vote by mail who used to be able to vote by mail simply because they put the wrong number down,” he said.
As of Thursday, Cameron County has received close to 300 applications which Garza said only 9 have been rejected. He adds these new changes will also make it harder on senior residents and those with disabilities who rely on others to get the application.
“Either we are going to have to talk to the individual directly on the phone. If they have trouble communicating they’re going to have to overcome that. We’re going to have to have systems in place to confirm for ourselves that it is the individual asking for it,” said Garza.
For those looking to apply for a ballot-by-mail, there are a few things people can do right now to ensure their application won’t be denied.
“They can include one or both if they are not sure to make sure their application and their ballot will be received correctly, if they need to update their voter registration record we certainly would encourage it,” said Garza.
To get the correct voter application, Garza encourages residents to go to the county’s website or contact your election office for help.