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93-year-old Houston voter furious that her mail ballot application was rejected

"They’re eliminating my one ability to participate in local government," Ruby said after her daughter-in-law scrambled to get the new ballot in by today's deadline.

HOUSTON — The deadline to get your application for a mail-in ballot to your county election office was 5 p.m. today, Feb. 18.

Some voters sent theirs' in well before today's deadline only to find out they'd been rejected.

According to Harris County, the state is rejecting a lot of mail ballot applications because they're not filled out correctly. 

Election officials say Texas SB1, a new state voting law, is confusing even for veteran voters like 93-year-old Ruby Poindexter. 

She’s voted in every election since she was 21 years old and she’s been voting by mail for the last two decades. But yesterday, Ruby found out her mail ballot application was rejected and she's furious. 

"They’re eliminating my one ability to participate in local government," Ruby said. "It does not speak well about how voters are being treated."

Her daughter-in-law spent the morning faxing and mailing her corrected application in by the deadline.

 "It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat. They’re taking away the right to vote for many people. Not everyone has family that’s going to do what I do," Anne Poindexter said.

George Aulenbacher's application was also rejected.

(George Aulenbacher/Harris County voter)

"They said 'Well, we don’t show you’ve registered to vote at all.' I got flustered and said, 'What do I do?'

You can check the status of your mail ballot application here. Harris County voters can also check status here.

Who can vote by mail in Texas

  • 65 years or older
  • Have disability or illness that prevents you from voting
  • Expected to give birth within three weeks before or after election day
  • Out of the county on Election Day and during early voting
  • Confined to jail, but not convicted of a felony

What you need to apply

  • The application requires a Texas driver’s license, Texas personal identification number or election identification certificate number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. (This is different from your voter registration VUID number) 
  • If you don't have one of those forms of identity, the last four digits of your Social Security Number
  • The same identification requirements also apply to the actual mail-in ballot.

Find out how to get a application form here. 

Questions about voting by mail?

“You can always call us at 713-755-6965 or you can, when in doubt, fill both out,” said Leah Shah, the director of communications for Voter Outreach with the Harris County Election Administrator’s Office. “Just put both forms of identification to avoid any delays in having to fill out another application or another ballot.”

Voters sending their mail-in ballot should also put that same ID number on the carrier envelop for the ballot.

“Our team right now is working very long hours to find a contact, call or email that individual to help walk them through that process before sending a letter back along with either their application or a ballot and a new carrier envelope,” said Shah.

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