Texas rejected more than 12 percent of mail-in ballots in March primary

Texas rejected nearly 25,000 mail-in ballots in the state’s March primary election, marking a significant jump in discarded votes after a new voting law was passed last year under Republican leadership.

Texas tossed more than 12 percent of the 198,947 mail-in ballots cast in the March 1 primary, or 24,636 ballots submitted across the state’s 254 counties, according to data from the Texas secretary of state.

Rejection rates were higher for ballots cast in the Democratic primary than in the Republican primary — 12.87 percent to 11.77 percent.

In comparison, less than 1 percent of ballots were rejected statewide in 2020, according to data from the federal Election Assistance Commission.

Texas was one of a number of states with Republican-controlled legislatures to enact new voting laws following the 2020 election, which former President Donald Trump and his supporters have continued to claim was rigged.

The law Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed last year includes measures prohibiting election officials from sending mail-in ballot applications to voters who do not request them. It also created restrictions on drive-thru voting and voter ID requirements.

James Slattery, a staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said the ballots were mostly being rejected because of new voter ID laws.

“The only reason that the rejection rate soared this high is that Senate Bill 1 imposed this new ID requirement and it is disenfranchising eligible voters,” he said, according to the organization’s Twitter account.

The Texas Secretary of State did not answer a request for a statement on the rejected ballots.

Many counties saw rejection rates far higher than in previous elections, including Democratic-leaning Harris County.

Of the 7,243 mail ballots received in Harris County in early February, about 38 percent were flagged because there was no ID, which was more than double the rate seen in the 2018 primary.

In the final, official data results, Harris County had more than 3,800 mail-in ballots rejected out of 17,784 mail-in ballots submitted for the Democratic primary.

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