Lubbock County already rejecting mail-in ballots for May elections

Some voters are forgetting to include their ID information on the ballot envelope, the same...
Some voters are forgetting to include their ID information on the ballot envelope, the same issue we saw during the March primaries.(KCBD)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s been nearly one week since the Lubbock County Elections Office sent out mail-in ballots for the city and school board elections in May and some have already been rejected.

Some voters are forgetting to include their ID information underneath the flap of the mail-in ballot envelope, the same issue Lubbock County saw during the March primaries.

Changes to the Texas Election Code require voters to include ID information on their mail-in ballot envelope. It’s a change Lubbock County Elections Administrator Roxzine Stinson says voters aren’t quite used to. Lubbock County had an 11 percent rejection rate in the March primaries. For the election on May 7, voters are considering two constitutional amendments, city offices, and making decisions for the future of their schools. Stinson says this election’s rejection rate is higher so far, but she thinks that will change.

“This one right now, because we haven’t had a whole lot, it’s at about 18 percent. But as ballots come back and as we get those corrected, it won’t be that high. I know as we all get familiar with the processes, and especially the voters, the numbers will go down as far as rejection rate. And we’ve always had a fairly low one, so, it’ll get there. It’s just it’s something new and we’re all learning,” she said.

Stinson says you must remember to put either your driver’s license or last four digits of your social security number under the flap of your mail-in ballot envelope. She says to fill out the section, seal the envelope, sign it and then it’s ready to mail. If your ballot is rejected, the Elections Office will notify you to make changes.

“What happens at that point, we try to contact them. Our Signature Verification Committee will reach out by phone call, we may email. If we catch it in time before it goes to them, we will mail it back to you with a new envelope so you can correct that under the flap and just send it back,” Stinson said.

The city and school election envelopes are green on one side, so they can be distinguished from other election envelopes. If you still need to request a mail-in ballot, you have to include your ID information that matches what’s on your voter registration record. Stinson says to play it safe and write down both your driver’s license and social security info. If you need help, Stinson says to give the Elections Office a call at 806-775-1338.

After all the preparation that goes into holding an election, Stinson hates rejecting a ballot.

“That hurts, I’m going to be honest, that hurts. I’ve been here 18 years and we’ve worked so hard all that time, really trying to keep clean voter rolls and I think we have one of the cleanest in the state,” Stinson said.

Stinson says the last day to request a ballot by mail for the cities and schools election is April 26 She says the deadline to register, making address changes, is April 7. Early voting starts April 25.

According to the Elections Office, the military and overseas ballots for the May 7 election were sent out on March 23, and all other ballots were sent out the next day.

The primary runoffs for the Democratic and Republican parties are on May 24. Stinson says the mail-in ballots for that election will be sent out at the end of next week. She says those envelopes will be purple on the side and will have stamps on the outside to clarify that they are for the runoff. She says you must mail ballots back in their correct envelopes or they won’t count.

The last day to register to vote for the party primary runoffs is April 25. The last day to apply by mail (received, not postmarked) is May 13. Early voting starts May 16.

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