Texas rejected nearly 25,000 mail-in ballots in its March 1 primary election, resulting in an unusually high rejection rate of over 12%, according to state officials.
NPR reports the situation is raising an outcry from advocates who blamed a GOP-backed law that requires voters to provide a partial Social Security number or driver’s license number on their mail ballot application. The numbers have to match those in voter registration records.
“The rejection rate went up by a factor of 12 since the last election. The only reason that the rejection rate soared this high is that Senate Bill 1 imposed this new ID requirement and it is disenfranchising eligible voters,” James Slattery, a senior state attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, told NPR.
Officials said rejected ballots tended to have mismatching numbers or didn’t have the required numbers on return envelopes. And while some voters had a chance to fix their errors, many did not, the report said.
Harris County, the populous area around Houston, rejected 19% of the ballots it received.
Democrats faced a slightly larger rejection rate.
NPR reports 12.87% of Democratic mail-in ballots cast were rejected during the primary — a total of 14,281 ballots — while 11.77% of Republican ballots were rejected, or 10,355 ballots.
State officials said they will educate voters about the requirement but advocates said they are worried rejection problems will persist in the general election in November.