1,500 Texas voters incorrectly told to submit identification with mail-in ballot

Caller Times,  February 12, 2020

"About 1,500 people who vote by mail were incorrectly told they would be required to send identification back with their ballot — even though they have voted by mail previously and should not be required to do so, Democratic Party officials said.

The letters were sent in late January — an incident that Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands said was an unintentional mistake. Some voters said they felt confused and intimidated by the error, and that it may have discouraged participation.  

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The county’s office is required to send notices to some voters, Sands told the Nueces County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Wednesday.

The notice states information on the recipient's voter registration can't be verified and must be submitted.

But during the process of sending notices to the intended recipients, she said, notices were also sent to about 1,500 voters who were not supposed to receive one.

Sands said once she learned of the incident, she sent a second letter to voters who had been impacted, apologizing and notifying them that they should not have received the first one.

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The Secretary of State lists those eligible to vote by mail as either older than 65, disabled or otherwise ill, in jail or out of or expected to be out the county on Election Day or during early voting.

Several voters who said they received the letters addressed the court with their concerns Wednesday.

There were calls for an investigation into how the letters were incorrectly sent by the county clerk's office. Some also described the legal language used in the letter issued by the state as convoluted and intimidating.

Linda White, a 70-year-old retired school teacher, was among those who Wednesday told the commissioners she had received the letter.

It wasn’t immediately clear what identification was being requested, she said — so she made copies of at least three government documents, including a driver’s license and military identification.

Not everyone owns a computer, she said, and some will ultimately choose to avoid the trouble and not participate in the election process.

'We don’t want to lose one vote,' White said. 'I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. Voting is a civil responsibility and we shouldn’t take it lightly.'

Commissioners Carolyn Vaughn and Joe A. Gonzalez said the issue had impacted both Democrats and Republicans.

County Judge Barbara Canales urged public communication on the matter — getting the message out on the mistake, ensuring that anyone who has been affected is identified, and following up to ensure they are notified of the mistake."

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Hannah Piercey

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