TYLER, Texas (KETK) – East Texas counties have one month to receive mail-in ballot requests. 30 days ahead of the Texas primaries, some elections offices are seeing a slow and confusing start to the process.
Last year’s legislative session in Austin changed some of the rules for vote by mail applications. The new form asks for your driver’s license or the last four digits of your social security number.
‘It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, I really expected there to be more confusion,” said Michelle Allcon, Smith County Election Administrator.
Smith Election County leaders are applauding their community for calling in and asking questions before they submit the vote by mail application.
What’s the new change to the form?
“The main thing that changed on that application, a voter has to provide a personal identification number of some sort,” said Allcon.
So far, Smith County has accepted 110 applications.
“If an application is incorrect in some way we have to send a new notice to that voter with a new application for them to fill out. So it does add a considerable amount of time to the process not only for our office, for the voter themselves,” said Allcon.
The office has only rejected 20 applications.
“10 of those rejections were just because the applications were the old application, they didn’t have the section with the identification number. So that was very simple, just mail the voter the new one and they can fill it out again and mail it back to us,” says Allcon.
The rest of the applications were sent back because of missing information. Some voters believe, redistricting will cause them to re-register to vote. Experts say that’s not true.
“We’ve been working on the redistricting data itself making sure it’s complete and accurate and that our voter registration data reflects that,” says Allcon.
Many counties are simply left updating voter polls, like Smith County. Experts say at the end of the day, whether by mail or in person, they want to see as many people get out and make their voices heard.
“If they have that knowledge then they actually feel confident they can actually cast a ballot they may actually make an impact,” says Allcon.
Voters have until Feb. 18 to submit an application to vote by mail. The Texas primaries are March 1.