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League of Women Voters of the San Antonio Area

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New laws affect elections procedures

Glenda Wolin | Published on 7/29/2023

New laws affect elections procedures

The 88th Texas Legislature passed several laws that affect procedures in voting and elections. They go into effect before the November 7 Constitutional Amendment election.

Laws relating to the elections process

  • A 2021 law was reversed that required the listing of unopposed candidates as declared winners and did not allow for voting on them. The new law states that “These unopposed candidates will appear on the ballot and must receive at least one vote to be elected to office.”
  • Changes have been made related to accommodating voters with disabilities. The new law requires election workers to allow any person who has a limited ability to walk to vote before others already in line; and requires all voting sites to designate at least one parking space as reserved for voters unable to enter the building. It also requires the Secretary of State and county elections officials to provide a printable application for a ballot by mail that allows a person to complete the application directly on their website before printing.
  • The penalty for illegal voting has been raised to a second-degree felony unless the person is convicted of an attempt, in which event it is a state jail felony.

Laws related to voting by mail:

  • The Secretary of State must include on the application for ballot by mail a statement that explains the benefits to a voter of furnishing the voter's telephone number and how providing that number assists the early voting clerk.
  • No later than the second day after the early voting clerk discovers specific problems in a voter's application, the clerk must determine if there is enough time for a voter to correct them. If so, the voter must be notified of the problem and be allowed to correct it by mail, in person, or through the ballot-by-mail tracker. It also allows certain problems in a voter's mail ballot application to be corrected through the ballot-by-mail tracker.
  • Voters will be allowed to correct problems on their ballot's carrier envelope by returning a corrective action form sent to them, appearing in person at the Elections Office, canceling their application to vote by mail and voting in person, or making the correction through the ballot-by-mail tracker, if possible.

The information needed by a voter to access the ballot-by-mail tracker will be modified to include the voter's name, date of birth, the last four digits of the voter's Social Security number, and the voter's driver's license number or Texas personal ID card number. An address is no longer required.

League of Women Voters of the San Antonio Area

PO Box 12811

San Antonio, TX 78212
(210) 657-2206