Texas is still working on rejected ballots after the primaries

Austin, Texas (AP) – Texas Republicans have promised that the new voting rules will make it “easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

Austin, Texas (AP) – Texas Republicans have vowed that new voting rules will make it “easier to vote and harder to cheat.” But when the dust settled on Wednesday in the country’s first election, voters from both parties were affected by the change.

By and large, the Texas Primaries, which resulted in the 2022 midterm election season in full swing, had no significant problems at Tuesday’s polls with usually low turnout. But while most races were resolved by Wednesday, counties that rejected thousands of ballots in the mail for failing to comply with Texas ’strict new election laws still don’t know how many will end up counting.

That response is likely a few more days away, and for Republicans rushing to introduce new voting laws across the U.S. after the 2020 election, the stakes go beyond Texas as the Republican Party rejects accusations of trying to suppress potential Democrat voters. But there is no doubt that the changes in Texas have caused obstacles even for Republican voters, who made up about 40 percent of all ballots by mail.

“Texans are being affected now, but unfortunately this is just a preview of what might happen in other states,” said Mimi Marciani, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which sued Texas for the law.

Republicans generally welcomed the debut of tougher rules and looked back to November, when another provision under a broad new Texas law would give extended powers to poll supporters.

The number of rejected ballots around Houston was nearly 30% – about 11,000 ballots – on Tuesday. Harris County is a mainstay of the Democratic Party, but ballots for both Republican and Democratic voters were marked for not having the necessary new identification, said Leah Shah, a spokeswoman for the district election office.

Texas Secretary of State John Scott, Republican Gov. Plenipotentiary Greg Abbott and other Republican officials said the denials were likely caused by a majority of voters unfamiliar with the new demands, and will become less of a problem over time.

“We saw it as a fact that the law definitely works,” said Rick Barnes, chairman of the Taranto County Republican Party, the largest red county in Texas. “This is the first round of this, so it may take a bit of education to move forward. But then again, I think that percentage has dropped and we are happy with the reality of it all. ”

One struggle for both parties in Texas was to find enough pollsters to keep polling stations open and moving. The parties are responsible for staffing their own primaries in Texas, and in large counties from the Texas-Dallas border there were places that failed to open in time due to a shortage of voters.

Barnes compared the problem of finding workers for polls right now to employers who have difficulty finding jobs, but said he expects there will be enough survey observers in November, which usually takes less time for “every hour, every poll” in November.

New rules in Texas also prohibit the conduct of voting, round-the-clock polling stations, and prohibit election officials from actively sending voters applications to vote by mail. Many of the measures were aimed at Harris County, where immediately after polls closed on Tuesday, Scott’s office announced delays in the vote count. Harris County denies that delays in reporting are a cause for concern.

The bill was signed last fall by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who was re-nominated by Republican voters. All in all, there were a few surprises at the Texas primaries, though one occurred on Wednesday when Republican Van Taylor abruptly withdrew his re-election application after admitting to the novel about a year ago.

David Becker, a former Justice Department attorney who is now executive director of the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation and Research, said Texas law has created unnecessary cuts that have beaten voters.

“Navigation in the electoral process should not be a game in the head,” he said.

In the Dallas suburb, Colin County on Wednesday reported that 800 of the more than 5,300 ballots received were marked for rejection, largely due to signature and identification requirements.

Bruce Sherbet, election administrator for Colin County, said it would be a question of how much will be determined in a timely manner to help the county determine how much additional education voters need to reduce future turnout.

“It went as well as we could have expected,” Sherbet said.


Associated Press writer Christina A. Cassidy of Atlanta contributed to this report.

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