January 27 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Voting by mail should be called “Vote at Home.”  

It’s vitally important, given the current wave of COVID-19, that everyone who qualifies for a mail ballot take advantage of the opportunity. To qualify for a mail ballot you must be either: 

  • 65 years or older; or
  • Sick or disabled such that you can’t vote without requiring assistance or risking your health; or
  • Out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
  • Expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day; or
  • Are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.

Those over 65 or disabled can even make an annual request for ballots by mail to have ballots for all the elections in this year automatically sent to them.

Here’s the benefits of voting at home: 1) The voter can study the ballot and look into the candidates at their leisure in privacy before voting. 2) No standing in line and signing in. 3) Reduced exposure to COVID-19 or colds or flu in the community. 4)The voter can track their ballot as it goes through the mail to be assured it was received.

How do you get an application for a ballot by mail? 1)You may have received one in the mail from political parties who have sent out annual applications for over 65 or disabled. 2) You can go to the Secretary of State website  https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/reqabbm.shtml where you can get the form in a printable pdf format or fill out one to print online. 3) You can call your local election office (Brewster (432) 837-6230, Presidio (432) 729-4812) and request an application (the voter can only request an application for themselves, not for other persons).

Where do you send your application for a ballot by mail? In Brewster County, send it to Lora Nussbaum, Brewster County Early Voting Clerk, 107 West Avenue E #3, Alpine, TX 79830-4618. In Presidio County, send it to District & County Clerk Florcita Zubia P.O. Box 789, Marfa 79843. Don’t forget the stamp!

VERY IMPORTANT  

1) Fill in the part of the application regarding identification with BOTH your Texas Driver’s License number or TX Personal Identification Number AND the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. If the form you are using doesn’t have this space, it’s old and should not be used. This is a new requirement and failure to fill in this part has resulted in hundreds of applications being sent back for correction. 2) To get a ballot for the March 1 Democratic or Republican primary election, the application must be received by the early voting clerk by February 18, 2022. 3) If you haven’t registered to vote yet, in order to vote in the March 1 primary elections, register before February 1 (you need to register before you submit your request for a ballot by mail). 

Perhaps you heard recent misinformation about mail ballots. You may have been told that voter fraud is a problem with mail ballots, but it’s not. Voter fraud, where an ineligible person votes or someone impersonates another person to vote, is VERY VERY RARE and is usually caught and most often is just an understandable mistake by the voter. All mail ballots in Texas are signed on the application and on the ballot envelope and a Signature Verification Committee clears each one before the ballot is counted. Citizens are less susceptible to pressure and intimidation when they can review and fill out their ballot in privacy and security at home. There is a voter-verified paper trail for every ballot and a tracking system to follow ballots as they are sent out and received. This is one reason why the 2020 election had high turnout despite COVID-19 and was the most accurate and secure election in history for Texas and across the country –– despite what you may have been told. 

There have long been methods in place to verify that voters are who they say they are when they vote. What matters most is your name, your date of birth and your address. In advance of elections, registered voters receive a voter registration card and almost everyone has additional ways to prove their identification, such as driver’s licenses or personal identification cards. So, national (federal) IDs are not needed.

In some states and countries all voting is by mail, and in other jurisdictions voters can opt to vote by mail or in person as they wish. It’s a popular way to vote. So if you’re eligible, in 2022 stay safe and secure and Vote at Home!

Mary Bell Lockhart

Alpine


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