New Texas legislation hinders US citizen votes
The new Texas voting law was implemented by Republicans last year.
Thousands of Texans have been identified as possible noncitizens who may be barred from voting.
According to local election authorities, hundreds of mail-in ballots were denied for missing required information. Republicans supported the Texas bill last year, joining their colleagues in at least 18 states, including Florida, Georgia, and Arizona. The initiative was a result of the GOP's effort to restrict voting laws due to former President Donald Trump's claims that he won the presidency.
Democrats have been outspoken in their opposition, including walkouts and deadlocks in the legislature, claiming it will disadvantage particularly voters from minorities.
Texas sent letters to almost 11,000 voters, informing them that they were required to provide proof of citizenship to their local elections office.
In line with the new requirements, driver's license numbers are required on the application or the last 4 digits of a person's social security number.
According to the Texas Secretary of State's office, almost 2,000 registrations were canceled because voters did not show up. However, some of those who got the warning letters were actually citizens.
According to the Secretary of State's office, counties should consult with it on how to appropriately reject postal ballots.
As of Friday, Harris County officials reported that they had rejected more than 200 of 1,200 applications from Houston-area voters.
Isabel Longoria, the Harris County elections administrator warns that “at this point, to be so low in the number of applications and have a 20 percent rejection rate for the primaries? It’s really got me worried.”
An attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, one group suing the state says, "It's just a bad situation on a number of levels."
County election authorities in Austin estimate that the rejection rate is around 50%. According to civil rights organizations, the state is not taking the necessary precautions to guarantee that US citizens are not being disadvantaged.
Individuals who identify as noncitizens on their driver's licenses after registering to vote are expected to be flagged by the state.
Harish Vyalla, a US citizen since 2013, says he has voted twice since and was flagged as a noncitizen. According to Vyalla, he had "no concerns because I know I am a citizen with proper documentation, but I was surprised because nobody had asked me in the past, adding that “the government should already have all these proofs and documents in hand.”