News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Thousands of mail-in ballot applications have been rejected in North Texas counties

A election worker accepts a mail-in ballot from a voter at the Dallas County ballot collection point Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.
LM Otero
AP News
Friday is the final day to apply for a mail-in ballot for the March 1 primary.

Elections departments in North Texas counties have rejected hundreds of mail-in ballot applications due to the new state voting law SB1.

The law was passed by Texas Republicans last year. It requires potential voters to submit one of two forms of identification on the application – either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number – and it has to match whatever was used when voters originally registered.

The deadline for these applications is Friday, February 18. County election offices must receive them by that date.

Like elsewhere in the state, North Texas counties have had to reject hundreds of vote-by-mail applications due to the new ID requirements.

-In Tarrant County, 1,323 mail-in ballot applications that were received between Jan. 1 through Feb. 17 have been rejected due to the new law, about 52% of all rejections. Tarrant County Elections Director Heider Garcia said 13,960 good applications have been processed.

-In Collin County, about 300 mail-in ballot applications have been rejected, and 6,949 accepted. Elections Director Bruce Sherbet said almost all the county’s rejections were related to ID requirements.

-In Dallas County, 1,623 applications were rejected as of Tuesday, and 1,022 of those due to the new law.

“The majority of these rejections are because of people that didn’t provide the ID that’s required of SB 1,” Election Director Michael Scarpello told the Dallas County Commissioners Court.

Earlier this month, the Dallas County Commissioners approved almost $75,000 to hire a contractor to do outreach to voters, letting them know about the rejections so they can potentially submit new applications for mail-in ballots. Outreach included phone calls, radio ads, and social media messages.

“Everything that the state has done related to SB1 has been thick, thick, hard to read text,” he said. “And that’s why we’re trying to simplify the messaging to say … when in doubt, fill it out.”

In other words, fill out all the numbers on a mail-in ballot application so it will match the voter’s original registration file.

Scarpello said his office has been sending a new mail-in ballot application with rejection letters.

The new ID requirement also applies to the mail-in ballots themselves. ID numbers on the return envelopes must match what’s on file.

While hundreds of these ballots have been held up because of absent or unmatching ID numbers, voters still have time to fix or “cure” them if they visit their county elections office. They can check the status of their ballot by mail applications here.

“All the ballots that are in questioned status can be cured by the voters if they come into our office and fill out the proper paperwork,” Garcia said.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gifttoday. Thank you.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.