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What the new voting law means for West Texans

With Gov. Greg Abbott's signing of Senate Bill 1, there are several new parameters and orders to follow across the state, including in Midland County.

MIDLAND, Texas — Elections offices across Texas are preparing to get rid of the old and print out the new.

"It will be much more work, just that we are still working within the pandemic," Carolyn Graves, Midland County elections administrator, said.

Now that Senate Bill 1 is law, many orders are changing, so voters listen up.

This means you will have to fill out a new ballot by mail and new voter application forms if you're new to voting in Midland County.

Voting through a ballot by mail now requires a copy of an ID.

"There is a new provision in the ballot by mail that, under the disability portion of it, if a due date, a pregnancy due date is 3 weeks before or 3 weeks after the election date, they are now eligible for a ballot by mail," Graves said.

There are even new poll watcher trainings that didn't exist before.

"Actually Secretary of State, they are working on the handbooks now," Graves said. "Because of SB1, so many things have changed, like our voter registration forms, our ballot by mail forms, and they are working on those. Right now, that's not available."

Beyond this, now you can change your address online if you're moving from one Texas county to another, which wasn't previously allowed.

And now ballots by mail can only be carried in on election day, to the Midland County elections office, by that specific voter.

"The secretary of state is very good about sending out advisories, and giving us step-by-step instructions, and that's exactly what we'll do, is we'll make sure that we adhere to it, to the letter," Graves said.

This is all in the name of better election security.

"I think just the election in 2020 has made a lot of, brought up a lot of questions on election security, and so I think maybe that's why it's headed that way, but I would like to reassure Midland County voters that our machines are very safe," Graves said.

Here are some dates to remember:

  • General election is November 2, 2021.
  • Early voting starts October 18, 2021.
  • Deadline to register to vote is October 4, 2021.
  • Deadline to submit a ballot by mail application is October 22, 2021.

You can find more information here.