Texas rejected thousands of mail-in ballots in the first election since the passing of the state's new voting law.
Low turnouts in the Lonestar State were seen Tuesday, when primary polls opened, The Dallas Morning News reported.
However, Rice University political scientist Mark P. Jones told the newspaper that turnout rate was on par for a Texas midterm election.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed an elections overhaul into law last September after Democrats spent months protesting what they say are efforts to weaken minority turnout and preserve the GOP's dominance.
The new law states that only voters who are over 65, disabled, out of town, or in jail on Election Day can cast a mail-in ballot.
The ID that voters use on a mail-in ballot and on the envelope — driver's license number or partial Social Security number — must match what's on the voter registration record.
NPR reported last month that Texas elections officials have returned thousands of mail-in votes due to ID requirement issues.
Voters have until March 7 to correct a rejected ballot either in-person at county offices, or online.
Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet said 17% (roughly 740) of ballots mailed to his office have been rejected and sent back to voters.
"Rejections before [Senate Bill 1] requirements were minimal. I mean double digits, maybe even single digits sometimes," Sherbet told the Morning News. "We had very few signature mismatches or incomplete information. So by far, the majority of these rejections are based on SB 1 changes."
Dallas County election officials last week told the Morning News that 742 mail-in ballots (18%) had been rejected through Feb. 19.
NBC News reported that Travis County reported 12% of the approximately 7,000 ballots had been flagged for rejection.
Harris (40%), which includes Houston, and El Paso (45%) counties reported much higher numbers of rejected mail ballots during the first week of early voting, the Morning News reported.
The New York Times reported that election data from Texas' largest counties found that more than 15,000 ballots had been rejected.
The Morning News reported that Republicans had outvoted Democrats by about 39%, but Democrats were casting more ballots by mail. Through Friday, about 49,000 Republican primary votes were cast by mail, and 70,000 Democrat primary votes were cast by mail.
Statewide turnout through Friday was just shy of 10%, according to the Texas secretary of state's office.
"Republicans are reshaping the politics of Texas with substantial voter turnout increases in counties that have historically voted blue," Abbott tweeted Friday.
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