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Vote-by-mail application rejections on the rise

Midland County has rejected roughly 25% of the vote-by-mail applications it has received.

MIDLAND, Texas — Midland County receives roughly 2,500 vote-by-mail applications for busy election cycles. While final numbers are not currently in, Midland County Election Administrator Carolyn Graves said that of the applications the county has received, about a quarter have been rejected.

"Maybe 25%," Graves said. "We’ve had to send out a number of rejection letters because they were rejected for different reasons, so I think maybe about 25%."

Under Senate Bill 1, there is now a new form to fill out when requesting to vote by mail. The form requires either your social security number or your driver's license number, and it has to match whichever number you filled out on your registration.

"One of the new laws from SB 1 is that the driver's license, or their photo personal identification number, or the last four digits of their social need to be on the application because it will also need to be on the envelope that they return their ballot in," Graves said.

If you put your driver's license number on the registration and then gave your social on the application, or vice-versa, the vote-by-mail application will be rejected.

"If it’s not what we have on file, it will be rejected, and they will get a letter of rejection," Graves said. "Then they’ll have six days to, it’s called curing. In other words, it’s to come in and take care of that, or there is through the Secretary of State a ballot tracker."

Graves said that it's also not as simple as calling in and asking what the number is that is on file.

"If they call, we can’t tell them which one we have, so that makes it more challenging," Graves said. "So, that’s why I’m just, again, recommending that they put both just to make sure that we have it."

Graves did say that if you call in, you can ask specific questions, such as "Do you have my social?" or "Do you have my driver's license number?" to help you determine what number to put on your application. However, they cannot give you the specific number over the phone.

Graves does believe that this will get better over time.

"I think once we get it down, especially the over 65 and the disabled have the opportunity to mark that annual ballot box, and if they mark that box and we can get everything else done, then they only have to do it once," Graves said. "They will automatically get a ballot for every election this year."