Tarrant County reporting many initial applications for mail-in ballots being rejected for simple reasons

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The deadline for the county to receive an application for a mail-in ballot for the March 1 primary is Feb. 18, according to the Texas Secretary of State's Office. (Courtesy Unsplash)

The deadline for the county to receive an application for a mail-in ballot for the March 1 primary is Feb. 18, according to the Texas Secretary of State's Office. (Courtesy Unsplash)

Tarrant County's top election official reported that many of the initial applications for mail-in ballots are being rejected for simple reasons.

The rejections are tied to the new identification requirements approved in 2020 by the Texas Legislature for mail-in ballots. Voters must list on their application a valid driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number so the number can be matched to their voter registration record.

If a voter does not include a number on the application, the application will be rejected, according to a briefing by Tarrant County Elections Administrator Heider Garcia during the Jan. 18 Commissioners Court meeting.

He described another scenario in which a person registered to vote using a Social Security number but filled out an application for a mail-in ballot that included a driver's license number.

"We have no way to match it," Garcia said. "That's going to be a rejection as well."


Garcia said applications are still being processed but offered an example on the rejection rate from one day last week. He told commissioners that his office rejected 40% of applications received Jan. 13. Of those 181 rejections, 137 were rejected because numbers submitted by applicants were mismatched or not provided, he said.

Residents whose applications are rejected will receive a letter detailing reasons for the rejection along with a new application for them to fill out and resubmit. Garcia recommended that voters use both their driver's license number and Social Security number when they fill out the application.

"As long as one of them matches, it's a go," Garcia said.

He said people can also update their voter registration to include both numbers so the county will have the information on file for any future mail-in ballot application.

"The best solution is grab a voter registration form, fill out both numbers and send it back," he said. "That way both numbers will be on file, and this will not be an issue.”

The deadline for the county to receive an application for a mail-in ballot for the March 1 primary is Feb. 18, according to the Texas Secretary of State's Office.

To learn more about mail-in ballot applications, visit the webpage for the Tarrant County Elections office.