February 5, 2020 1238 PM
PRESIDIO COUNTY — Presidio County residents who registered to vote by the Monday deadline, but never received their voter card in the mail, will still be able to vote in the March primaries.
That’s the message from the county tax assessors office after it says an unknown number of such cards were returned to sender, causing those voters’ registrations to be suspended shortly after they registered or changed their address.
Voters in this situation will still be able to use a regular ballot — though they may need to file a document affirming their physical address, according to Natalia Williams, Presidio County tax assessor/collector, and others in her office.
Office workers also suggested users wrongly filled out their cards or failed to provide an accurate P.O. Box, causing the post office to return registration cards to the Presidio County Courthouse.
When a registration card is dropped in the mail, it’s delivered by the postal service, first traveling all the way to El Paso, before returning to the post office and landing in the inbox of the county tax assessor/collector. Williams takes them to the Presidio County Annex where they are added to the voter rolls. That office then sends out voter registration cards based on the information provided by those hoping to register. Those are dropped back in the mail, en route to the newly registered voters. But handfuls of cards have bounced, returning once again to the county courthouse.
Those bounced cards are then marked in the voter system, the office attempts to reach out with a letter to the person, and the voter’s registration is “suspended.” Those suspended will still be allowed to access a regular ballot and rectify any discrepancies (such as an unverified address) on their registration. Voters will need a photo ID. Even those who think they’re registered to vote (and find out at the polls that they are not,) will be able to access a provisional ballot.
It’s unclear at this time how many voters’ registrations were suspended. Williams’ office puts the figure in the dozens. It’s also unclear why the cards aren’t reaching residents — though voting and postal workers suggested the bug could be a feature of the county’s rural postal system, which often doesn’t deliver mail to physical addresses and instead requires a second mailing address.
More recently, Texas has made it possible for registrars to merge Voter Unique Identifiers for people who have registered in multiple counties. Previously, people would end up on multiple voter rolls with different VUID numbers, especially when there were legal name changes between registrations. Now, Williams and her staff are trying to merge VUIDs.
For those who are uncertain of their registration status, Williams is encouraging them to call her office at 432-729-4081.