Midland Couple Claims State Error for Voter Registration Mix Up

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Early voting is in full swing but one Midland woman said her disabled husband won't get to cast a ballot. It's all because of an error they claim was made by a department right here in the state.

Tammy Collins is the full time care giver for her disabled husband. She said she didn't know there was a problem with his voter registration until she tried to register herself.

Collins and her husband, I.C., will have to wait until 2016 to vote in another presidential election.

Tammy had just missed the deadline to register, but I.C. was already registered to vote through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. At least they thought so.

"When they sent the voter registration card out with our food stamp application, I had him fill it out and we mailed it back in," Tammy said.

But I.C.'s voter registration card never made it to the Midland County Elections Office.

"All we were told was you can't vote this year," Tammy said.

"We at least wanted one voice in our household to be heard and now neither one of us is gonna be heard on the election," Tammy said.

Tammy called the local health and human services to find out what happened.

"She told me that if it did come in with the paperwork, it was not their responsibility to mail it back in," Tammy said.

But she said another employee she spoke with gave a different answer.

"I spoke with the supervisor at the food stamp office and she said well if the girls up front had got it, they would've mailed it in for us," Tammy said.

NewsWest 9 contacted the Health Services Commission headquarters in Austin about their policy on this. We're told this isn't something that would normally happen.

"If someone did send it back to us, we would just send it on our weekly mailing to the county registrar," Spokesperson, Stephanie Goodman, said. "We certainly want to make every opportunity for our clients if they want to vote."

However the couple said they did mail the card in and they worry they're not alone in this.

"How many other people out there in our community or in our surrounding communities are going through the same thing?" Tammy said.

Although both sides may ever know what happened to the voter registration card, the commission said issues like this are addressed.

"I think communication errors like this are pretty rare," Goodman said. "We certainly would talk to staff and just make sure that all of our staff do understand the process."