February 01, 2022

More Info on Vote-By-Mail

Even though certain politicians have tried to make it harder to vote by mail, it remains the simplest and easiest way for senior and disabled Texans to practice their freedoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dallas TARA President Kenneth Williams prepared a summary of the kinds of questions that Texans are asking him on the voter-rights hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683):

1.  They’ve been asking about the identification requirement.  Some people are unaware of the new requirement.  Others see the requirement on the form (whether it’s the form sent out by the Texas Democratic Party or the form on the SOS website) and see wording that tells them they can provide either the Texas DL number or the SS#.  They ask which number they should provide.  We tell them to provide both numbers. 

2.  There are a lot of questions about signatures.  People who have middle names are often confused about how to sign their names on the VBM application form, because there is no space for a middle name.  When it’s time to sign the VBM application, some of the callers are not sure as to whether they should just sign their first and last name, or their first name, middle initial and last name, or to spell out their first name, middle name and last name.  I forwarded this question myself to my shift Captain, and I was told that all of those signature approaches are legitimate and should be accepted by the Elections Clerk.  We advise them to sign their name the way they normally sign their name. 

3.  Many callers have called with concerns about registration.  Because their old orange voter registration cards had an expiration date of 12/31/2021, a number of callers have been concerned that they would no longer be registered.  I often pull up their registration in the SOS website to reassure them that they are still registered.  New registration cards are arriving now, so hopefully this concern will go away.

4.  There are questions about the new Ballot Tracker.  The interface asks for a good deal more information than is asked for to pull up the voter registration.  For most voters, there has been no information visible in the Ballot Tracker yet.  I think this is changing as the Election Clerks are processing the VBM applications.

5.  The message is out there that the Election Clerks are “rejecting” VBM applications.  We emphasize that “rejection” is an overstatement and that we can get the VBM applications accepted by giving them whatever information is missing from the original application.  This usually involves giving them the phone number to their local Elections Clerk office if they’ve already mailed in their application.  We encourage them to include their phone number and email address if they’ve haven’t yet mailed in their application.

6.  Often one spouse has received a Ballot application from the TDP and the other spouse has not.  They have a Googledocs form where we can request an application be sent a particular individual.

A Checklist for the Vote By Mail Application

Jan Lance, President of the Austin TARA Chapter, prepared a simple checklist for anyone filling out their VBM application:

Get an Application

Fill Out the ApplicationAnswer all the questions!

  • Enter your Texas ID (Driver’s License or Election ID Certificate) AND

The last four digits of your Social Security Number

  • Under “Optional Information,” write your email and phone number so officials can contact you if there’s a problem
  • Check “Annual Application” and choose a party for the Primary Election. Check “All elections and runoffs”
  • Sign the form. Must match the signature on your ballot envelope so take a photo to be sure you remember.

DeadlineApplications must be received at your county elections office by February 18 to vote in the March 1 primaryTrack Your ApplicationUse the Texas Secretary of State’s Ballot by Mail Tracker to track the status of your application.

Other Groups Have Information

The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans has presented good guides for voting by mail. But Judy Bryant, our Texas organizer, also attends meetings with the Texas Civil Rights Project, League of Women Voters, and other groups that want to help Texans vote by mail. Here are some of the resources she gathered:

A slide show on the new laws that can be used by other gatherings:

A long video on the new Texas laws:

What Matters Most?

The most important thing is to keep up the fight against those who would stop us from voting. For the primary election, we have until February 18 to turn in our VBM applications. Even if we were to miss the deadline, it’s a long time until the all-important month of November! Hang in there everybody!


Gene Lantz, President

Texas Alliance for Retired Americans
Our Vote Is Our Voice! Seniors Refuse to Be Silenced!
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