Voting looked a little different during the Jan. 29 special election, but it may have served as good preparation for the upcoming primary election.
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Tom Green County is wrapping up a recent special election for San Angelo’s Single Member District 5 City Council seat. Now, election officials are still working on learning the new voting laws passed by the Texas Senate.
The Republican majorities in the House and Senate signed off on the final version of Senate Bill 1. Here are some of the many changes included in the bill.
Changes to the Texas election process in SB 1 include:
New regulations for early voting hours, including a ban on 24-hour voting
A ban on drive-thru voting
New ID requirements for voting by mail
A correction process for mail-in voting
Enhancing poll watcher protections
Creating new rules for voter assistance
Establishing monthly citizenship checks
A ban on the distribution of mail-in ballot applications
Tom Green County Elections Administrator Vona Hudson and her team had to apply these news laws in the recent special election and she said it was quite an adjustment from the past.
“Our vote-by-mail stats were quite low because many people aren’t aware of the new changes. For example, a lot of the voters don’t realize that their application for vote by mail is only valid for the calendar year. They would have had to apply at the top of January and many people missed that deadline,” Hudson said.
She also mentioned that people have to request ballot-by-mail in person, rather than via mail and it has been a growing concern.
Another concern is how spouses can’t get the other spouses ballot for them.
While the numbers were down for ballot-by-mail voters in the special election, numbers are beginning to increase for the primary.
“I’m having to get used to all the new laws and remember them all in my head. We’re also so restricted on what we can and cannot say so voters are surprised when they get these new applications for ballot-by-mail,” Hudson said.
As the elections office prepares for the upcoming primary, its goal is to make sure all eligible Tom Green County residents are aware of the new laws, register to vote and make their voice heard.
More information about voting in Tom Green County and upcoming elections can be found on the TGC election website.