At first blush, the most recent Texas voter suppression law is working as intended.
Large numbers of vote by mail (VBM) applications have been rejected by local officials, especially in the state’s largest counties. Not surprisingly, these counties are Democratic strongholds—Harris (Houston), Travis (Austin), Bexar (San Antonio) and Dallas (you guessed it—Dallas).
The large number of rejections stem from an id requirement incorporated into that bill that was designed to protect against—wait for it—non-existent voter fraud.
Basically, the voter requesting a VBM ballot is supposed to put their Social Security or Driver’s License number on the VBM request. Local election officials are then required to match this number against the number on file in their original voter registration form.
The problems with new law are that voters are not made clearly aware of the matching that will be done and, at any rate, are highly unlikely to remember which number they included on their original voter registration form.
Aye yai yai! What is a voter to do?
Well, they could put both numbers on the form and cover either contingency. However, another problem clicks in because local election officials are subject to criminal penalty if they aid a voter in filling out VBM form, so this small suggestion may go unknown by a voter.
You might say that it is a mess.
However, the kicker is that Republicans may only hurt themselves with this requirement.
The back story is that Texas vote by mail laws already is among the most restrictive in the country. They only allow people who are over 65, disabled or absent from the county on election day to vote by mail.
The vast majority who chose the VBM option are those 65 and older. By and large, these older voters are more likely to vote Republican than Democratic. Hence, Republicans may see their VBM totals drop.
It is hard to regret that outcome. However, it will unnecessarily deprive that voter of their right to vote. Remember: there is very little fraud in American elections to justify these measures.