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March 21, 2022

Voting Lessons Learned in Primaries: What’s Next?

Texas Alliance for Retired Americans experts will lead a webinar at 6PM on Thursday, March 24. Please join us:

Topic: Voting Rights

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://aflcio.zoom.us/j/83659570879
Or Telephone:
816 423 4261 US Toll
or 888 844 9904 US Toll-free
Code: 990839

Why Texas Seniors Should Vote By Mail

by Kenneth Williams

1. Voting by mail is a tool to fight voter suppression. It allows you to avoid the long lines. You don’t have to worry about partisan poll watchers looking over your shoulder when you complete your ballot in the privacy of your own home.

  • If they close the polling station in your neighborhood. It doesn’t matter.
  • Not enough machines in the polling stations?
  • Not enough election clerks? It doesn’t matter.

Voting by mail makes the line a little shorter for everyone else. Shortening the line for others is one of the key strategic benefits of voting by mail. When you vote by mail, you are stepping out of line for democracy. In Texas, where voting by mail is largely restricted to those who are 65 and old, voting by mail is a political “super power” for senior citizens. We have it. We should use it.

Lessons from the March Texas Primaries:  What happened, why, and what to do

by Jan Lance

 What happened?
The March 1st primary was the first election under SB 1, the massive election overhaul bill championed and passed by Texas Republicans last year. The bill included new ID requirements for mail-in ballots, which are used primarily by seniors and voters with disabilities. When Governor Abbott signed the bill on September 7, he promised “No one who is eligible to vote will be denied the opportunity to vote.”  In fact, tens of thousands of eligible voters who attempted to exercise their right under Texas law to vote by mail were denied the opportunity to vote. Around 23,000 mail ballots were discarded and uncounted, 13% of the ballots across 187 counties in Texas. Most application and ballot rejections were due to missing, incomplete, or nonmatching ID numbers. The new ID requirements along with rushed and insufficient implementation by state officials led to confusion among new mail voters and those who have successfully voted by mail in past elections.

 Lessons learned

  • County elections administrators were prevented, under a ban on “soliciting” mail ballots, from informing, educating, or preparing voters for the maze of obstacles presented by the new law.
  • Most application and ballot rejections were due to missing, incomplete, or nonmatching ID numbers.
  • The SOS provided little if any voter education regarding new ID requirements.
  • Many voters did not know about the new ID requirements.
  • The requirement that the ID provided on the application and ballot match the ID a voter registered with was difficult for many mail ballot users who registered to vote decades ago.
  • The application was confusing in both wording and layout in regard to the ID requirement.
  • Required ID section on the carrier envelope was small, difficult to find, and not easily recognized.
  • Many voters were not aware that they had to include ID information with their ballot since they had already put it on the application.
  • Many longtime voters were not included on the state database leading to applications and ballots being rejected.
  • Ballot tracker cure process was complicated and not easily accessed by all voters

Why Texas Seniors (Still) Should Vote by Mail
Voting by mail is a tool to fight voter suppression.  It allows you to avoid the long lines.  You don’t have to worry about partisan poll watchers looking over your shoulder when you complete your ballot in the privacy of your own home.   If they close the polling station in your neighborhood, it doesn’t matter.  Not enough machines in the polling stations?  Not enough election clerks?  It doesn’t matter.  Voting by mail makes the line a little shorter for everyone else.  Shortening the line for others is one of the key strategic benefits of voting by mail.  When you vote by mail, you are stepping out of line for democracy.   In Texas, where voting by mail is largely restricted to those who are 65 and older, voting by mail is a political “superpower” for senior citizens.  We have it.  We should use it.

 What you can do to make your mail ballot count in upcoming elections
Application for Ballot by Mail
1. Complete and mail your application ASAP so there is plenty of time to correct any errors.
2.Write your ID information in Section 1: Voter Information to the right of your name and address.
3. Write your Texas Driver’s License number AND the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
4. Write your email and phone number in the Optional section below your name and address.
5. Remember to check Annual Application in section 4 and indicate the party primary and runoff you prefer..
6. Sign the application.

Mail Ballot

  1. Complete and return your mail ballot promptly so there is plenty of time to correct any errors.
    2. Place your ballot in the ballot (privacy) envelope.
    3. Place the ballot envelope in the carrier (return) envelope.
    4. Write your Texas Driver’s License number AND the last 4 digits of your Social Security number in the Required Information section under the flap of the carrier envelope.
    5. Place only one ballot in the ballot (privacy) envelope and place only one ballot (privacy) envelope in each carrier envelope.
    6. After you seal the carrier envelope, sign in the space marked for signature.

(This email is one in a series from TARA that aims to help seniors exercise their voting power in all 2022 elections. So keep an eye on your inbox!)

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

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