MEDIA ADVISORY: Preventing Mail Ballot Application Rejections

MEDIA ADVISORY

Monday, Oct. 3, 12:30 p.m.

Harris County officials to provide updates on mail ballot application rejections, and share steps eligible voters can take to ensure their mail ballots are counted.

WHAT: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum will encourage eligible residents to register to vote, and registered voters who are eligible to vote by mail to do so using guidance provided by the Elections Administration Office.

WHO: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum

WHEN: 12:30 p.m. Monday, October 3

WHERE: NRG Arena (Hall D), 1 NRG Pkwy, Houston, TX 77054

VISUALS: The event will take place at the Harris County Election Central Count Location with voting equipment in the background.

Commissioner Ellis Statement:

“In March 2022, Texas and Harris County experienced an alarming increase in vote by mail rejections. Every voter has the right to vote free from burden, harm, or obstacle. Harris County is committed to ensuring that every eligible voter is able to freely and fairly cast their ballot. We’re doing our part to fight voter suppression and remove obstacles where we can.”

Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum Statement:

“Our office is doing everything it can to ensure all Harris County voters confidently participate in this coming election, whether it’s with a mail ballot, or in-person on the new voting machines. From adding customer support specialists to our mail ballot team to hosting dozens of community events so that voters can learn about t he process and practice on machines in demonstration mode, we’re meeting voters where they are to empower Harris County. ”

Background:

The March primaries marked the first time that SB 1 changes to voting by mail were in place, resulting in a high number of rejections in Harris County and across the state due to the new law. In addition to promoting the voter registration deadline, this press conference will address the issues that were seen in the primary and share key information with voters eligible to vote by mail.

SB 1 VBM Impacts

  • During the 2022 primary elections, over 12% of all mail ballots submitted statewide—24,636 total—were rejected[1] under the new law, primarily due to strict ID rules. (Texas Tribune)
  • In Harris County, the former Elections Administrator reported[2] that 19% of mail ballots were rejected due to SB 1. By comparison, .3% of mail ballots were rejected in Harris County in the 2018 primaries. (Houston Public Media)
  • In Harris County, areas with large Black populations were 44% more likely to have ballots rejected than heavily white areas, according to analysis.[3] Precinct One voters were disproportionately impacted by the changes to vote by mail. (NYTimes)

Key SB 1 Changes to VBM
Identification Requirements

  • Voters MUST provide either their Texas ID OR SSN on their application to vote by mail and return ballot carrier envelope. 
  • The number provided MUST match the voter record. The Texas Secretary of State and Harris County guidance recommend that a voter eligible to vote by mail provide BOTH forms of ID to minimize delays or rejections.



More: News & Editorials