Texas Preliminary Results 2022: How SB1 Impacted How Texans Vote in the 2022 Primary

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Beth Stevens, director of voting for the Harris County Office of Elections said in a news conference that SB1 impacted the vote-by-mail process and, subsequently, significantly increased the time it takes to vote by mail. staff time at polling places.

Farha Ahmed said her father Riaz has been voting by mail for years in Fort Bend County. After SB1 goes into effect, ballots and mail-in applications require registered voters to add their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number on both the ballot and the envelope, and it has to match what’s already on their voter profile.

Ahmed said her father received a call the day before Election Day informing him that his mail-in ballot had been rejected.

“My general understanding is that they’re asking people to add their social security number on the outside of the envelope,” says Ahmed. “This is a new procedure under this new bill and yes, there are a lot of seniors who don’t feel comfortable doing it and he doesn’t feel comfortable doing it either.”

Ahmed said she took her father to a roadside polling place in Fort Bend County to cast a provisional vote, which took about 40 minutes.

Ahmed is concerned that older voters or those with disabilities, like her father, do not have the necessary transportation or assistance, making it even more difficult to exercise their right to vote.

“It is easier to come and vote in person than to try to fix a paper ballot,” says Ahmed. “And that paper ballot is also very difficult. Can you imagine how many seniors can’t understand the instructions? No one to drive them to vote? To correct the ballot or vote in person? My dad it’s lucky to have I help him, but there is no one like that, do it for sunbaenim. I worry about that.”

Stevens said similar issues were reported to the Harris County Elections Office.

“What we’ve seen is people who get mail from us or from the early voting board saying there’s an ID missing on their ballot, then they go into the polling places and have to go through the whole process to cancel their mail – on the ballot or potentially a provisional vote and that, of course, slows things down at the polling place,” Stevens said.

A representative for Woori Juntos told ABC13 that the changes brought about by SB1 have significantly impacted the Korean-American community, with a limited number of interpreters available or approved to help voters. there is a need inside the polling place.

Annie Johnson-Benifield, president of the Federation of Women Voters of Houston, said the organization received about 900 calls to the hotline with the majority of callers asking where the nearest polling place was and what to do after. when they vote by mail. Was rejected.

“For the next election,” Johnson-Benifield said. “Since this is a test run, maybe for the flow and then for the November election those problems will really be cured and there won’t be much more. I think education is needed. voters so much so that voters know exactly what is required of the new SB1-related processes.”

Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, said a study conducted in one of his classes showed that during the 2020 election, most counties failed to warn voters a effectively on big changes. This year, he said, it is paramount that voters educate themselves and that counties and elections officials find ways to make information available and easily assessed to the public.

“The Republican vote is moving on schedule relative to the percentage of primary electors,” Rottinghaus said. “But the Democratic turnout was slightly lower. So we found that Democratic enthusiasm was a bit lower. It was also the case that SB1 created some barriers to voting. votes and the barriers that affect the Democrats. It seems more important than it has the Republican Party to be affected.”

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Dais Johnston

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