Changes in store for voter applications as deadlines approach

Changes in store for voter applications as deadlines approach
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The window is narrowing for deadlines surrounding your right to vote in the March 1st primary election. One cutoff date pertains to voter registration, and the other concerns submitting a vote-by-mail application. Both are complicated by unforeseen factors.

On Thursday, election office staffs sat through a state webinar on how to run an election since new voter laws have been passed.

“We’re learning as we go,” said Nacogdoches County election administrator Todd Stallings. “This is new waters for us.”

Voters will also have to keep their head above water. The voter registration deadline for the March 1 primary is January 31. Application forms have changed only slightly. There is nothing to worry about if you tell the truth.

“The fine (for providing false information) has changed from $2,000 to $4,000,” Stallings said.

The bigger problem is a shortage of paper limits how many new forms party chairs are sent. In a pinch, the old forms will be accepted.

Applications for a mail-in ballot have also changed.

And third parties continue to mail old applications to those over 65 even though they can be rejected by registrars.

Applicants must provide a state ID number, such as a driver’s license or the last four digits of their Social Security number, and the numbers must match what registrars have on file. And if they don’t?

“That’s the biggest new thing is that we’re going to have to reach out to some of those voters,” Stallings said.

The window is narrowing. The mail-in ballot application deadline is Feb. 18, after the start of early voting in the primary.

After all that, a ballot will be sent.

Look for changes there, too. Don’t seal it until one last important step is completed.

“The voter has got to write in either their driver’s license number or the last four of the social. They’ve got to be present in order for the ballot to be counted,” Stallings said.

There are a lot of rules new for the voter and the registrars.

“I’m not an expert on it yet, but I will be by Election Day,” Stallings said with a chuckle.

You can check your voter status online. The digital access is on the Texas secretary of state’s website, under the “my voter portal” tab.

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