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Nearly half of mail-in voting applications in Travis County have been rejected due to new Texas voting law, clerk says

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir is set to have a news conference on Jan. 18 to discuss the issue.

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — The Travis County Clerk's Office said that it has rejected about 50% of applications for mail-in ballots due to Senate Bill 1 (SB1), the state's sweeping voting law passed last year.

The clerk's office said the applications it has been rejecting have been for the March 1 primary elections. 

The new law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in September, requires that applications for mail-in ballots include the applicant's Driver's License number or the last four digits of their Social Security Number. The number provided is then verified against the applicant's voter registration record and if the number does not match the file, then the law requires the application be rejected.

The clerk's office said it has not received enough information regarding the new online cure process to instruct voters how to cure their applications with the Texas Secretary of State's Office. The office added that is has not received instructions from the State outlining what the office can do to help voters submit a completed application, but is expecting "more comprehensive guidance" from the secretary of state. 

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir is set to hold a news conference the morning on Jan. 18 to discuss details of the application rejections. 

Senate Bill 1 was passed during the second special session of the Texas Legislature in 2021. In addition to the new requirements on mail-in voting application, the law bans drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting, creates a criminal penalty for elections officials who send unsolicited mail-in ballot applications and more. 

The U.S. Department of Justice initiated a lawsuit against the state over SB1 back in November, citing the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More recently, in late December, a Harris County elections administrator and Austin-area voter registrar asked a federal judge to block the SB1 provision prohibiting elections officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications. 

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