Texas still working on rejected ballots after primary – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Texas Republicans promised new voting rules would make it “easier to vote and harder to cheat.” But as the dust settled on the nation’s first primary on Wednesday, voters from both parties saw their ballots blocked by the changes.

Overall, the Texas primary that kicked into full swing the 2022 midterm election season encountered no significant problems at the polls on Tuesday with generally low turnout. But although most of the races were decided on Wednesday, counties that had rejected thousands of mail-in ballots for failing to comply with Texas’ tough new election law still don’t know how many will end up counting.

That response is still likely days from now, and for Republicans who rushed to put new election laws in place in the United States after the 2020 election, the stakes go beyond Texas as the GOP pushes back on accusations. to try to suppress likely Democratic voters. But there is no doubt that the changes in Texas caused obstacles even for Republican voters, who made up about 40% of all mail-in ballots.

“Texans are the ones feeling the impact now, but unfortunately this is just a glimpse of what could happen in other states,” said Mimi Marziani, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which sued the Texas for this law.

Republicans have widely expressed satisfaction with the start of the tougher rules and have turned their sights to November, when another provision of Texas’ sweeping new law will grant sweeping powers to partisan poll watchers.

The discard rate around Houston was nearly 30% — some 11,000 ballots — when polls opened Tuesday. Harris County is a Democratic stronghold, but ballots from Republican and Democratic voters were flagged as missing the new required ID, said Leah Shah, spokeswoman for the county’s office of elections.

Texas Secretary of State John Scott, appointed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and other GOP members said the rejections were likely because most voters were unaware of the new requirements and would become less issues over time.

“We took that as the law definitely working,” said Rick Barnes, GOP chairman of Tarrant County, Texas’ largest red county. “It’s the first round, so it might take a bit of education going forward. But again, I think those percentages have gone down and we’re comfortable with the reality of everything. that.

One of the challenges for both parties in Texas was finding enough poll workers to keep polling places open and mobile. Parties are responding to staff their own primaries in Texas, and large counties from the Texas border to Dallas had locations that were unable to open in time due to a lack of election workers.

Barnes compared the problem of finding poll workers right now to employers struggling to fill jobs, but said he expects to have enough poll watchers, which is usually a time commitment. lesser, for “every hour, every poll” in November.

The new rules in Texas also banned drive-thru voting, 24-hour polling places, and barred election officials from proactively sending mail-in ballot requests to voters. Many of the measures were aimed at Harris County, where just after polls closed on Tuesday, Scott’s office announced delays in the vote count. Harris County disputed that reporting delays were a concern.

The law was signed last fall by Abbott, whom GOP voters again overwhelmingly nominated. Overall, there were few surprises in the Texas primary, though one came on Wednesday when Republican Rep. Van Taylor abruptly dropped his re-election bid after admitting to having an affair about a year ago. year.

David Becker, a former Justice Department lawyer who is now executive director of the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research Center, said the Texas law creates unnecessary layoffs that trip up voters.

“Navigating the electoral process is not meant to be a trap game,” he said.

In suburban Dallas, Collin County reported Wednesday that 800 of more than 5,300 ballots received were flagged for rejection, mostly due to signature and identification requirements.

Bruce Sherbet, the Collin County election administrator, said it will be about how many are set in time to help the county determine how much additional education is needed for voters to reduce voter turnout rates. rejection in the future.

“It went about as well as one would expect,” Sherbet said.

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