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New voting legislation helpful, harmful for others

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According to Caldwell County election administrator Kimber Daniel new legislation in Texas was all about voter integrity.

However, Daniel said, the change has caused problems for some voters, particularly senior citizens, all while bringing out its share of positives for some planning to fill out a ballot.

The Primary Election will be March 1.

“There was a big change in the law for our voters that have historically voted ballot-by-mail, people that were 65 and older, disabled, are gonna be out of the country when the election comes… those types,” Daniel said. “Historically, we could send out a reminder that said if you wish to vote by mail you need to request a new application. You were required to do that every year. We used to send out that notice, but with the new legislation that came out we’re no longer able to send out a reminder notice to ballot-by-mail voters to remind them to do that.

“We’re dealing with some people who are 65 and older and have some type of disability, but the law said that a party like the GOP or the Democrat Party of Texas could send out a reminder notice, but election officials could not do that.”

Daniel said only two of Texas’ 254 counties sent out reminders, which was deemed illegal and therefore “ruined it for everybody in Texas.”

Therefore, new legislation, while trying to increase voting integrity, has put more of a hardship on some voters.

For instance, Daniel noted that ballot-by-mail voters need to be sure to know what the election commissioner’s office has in their system – either the driver’s license or last four digits of their Social Security. While some do have both, if a ballot comes in with one and the other is on file, the application will be rejected.

A simple solution is to call the election commissioner’s office and verify which one is on file. While only one of the two is required, Daniel suggested if there is a question regarding which one is on file that putting both will expedite matters.

“Unfortunately, if they put their driver’s license number on there, but we only have the last four digits of their Social Security number on the record, it goes back to the voter and they have to do it again and send it in,” Daniel said. “That’s been an issue. We don’t tell them what we have on file, just that they need to correct it. If they call and say, ‘This is what I have,’ we can help them.

“For every 10 ballot-by-mail applications I’m getting in, I’m sending two rejection letters out. So, that’s an issue. I normally by the end of January have about 1,000 ballot-by-mail voters in at this point. Right now, we have about 210. We have 25,000 registered voters in Caldwell County. We normally have about 1,800 that vote by mail. There are several local candidates we have in elections, so we usually have a good portion of our people turn out to vote in our primaries.”

Early voting for the Primary begins on Feb. 14 and goes through the 25th.

There are three early voting locations in Caldwell County – Lockhart at the Scott Annex, Luling at the Civic Center, and in Martindale at Three Rivers Community Church.

“What the legislators have allowed us to do this year during early voting, because our population is less than 100,000, we can have Pop Up Polling Places,” Daniel said. “Those are open for two days. We’ll have a Pop Up in every Commissioner Precinct. If you vote early, you can vote anywhere in Caldwell County, but on Election Day, you can only vote in your precinct. We have gone from 31 election precincts to 24.”

In fact, a new Early Voting Precinct has opened in Martindale.

Daniel said she and the Caldwell County Commissioners are doing their best to make voting easier for its citizens.

Daniel said, “Legislators had some good reasons for what they were doing, but I think they made it harder for some of our elderly to vote by mail, then again, we don’t want election fraud; we want people to win by vote.”

Early Voting

Feb. 14-25

(Closed Feb. 21 for President’s Day)

Feb. 14-19 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Feb. 22-23, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Feb. 24-25, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Scott Annex (Lockhart)

Luling Civic Center (Luling)

Three Rivers Community Church (Martindale)

Special forms of Early Voting and Ballot by Mail only: Scott Annex (Lockhart)

Pop Up Polling:

Uhland Community Center (Ohland), Feb. 14-15, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Delhi Fire Department (Rosansky), Feb. 16-17, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

American Legion Post 41 (Lockhart), Feb. 22-23, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Lytton Springs Baptist (Dale), Feb. 24-25, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Voting locations on Election Day, March 1

First Lockhart Baptist Church Connection Center (Lockhart): Precincts 100, 101, 103

VFW Post 8927 Hall (Lockhart): Precincts 102, 104

McMahan Women’s Community CTR (McMahan): Precincts 204, 205

Luling Civic Center (Luling): Precincts 203, 206

Uhland Community Center (Uhland): Precinct 303

Fentress Community Church Hall (Fentress): Precinct 305

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall at Parish Hall (Lockhart): Precincts 108, 402

Three Rivers Community Church (Martindale): Precincts 300, 301

Maxwell Social Club (Maxwell): Precinct 302

Lytton Springs Baptist Church (Dale): Precincts 306, 404

St. Mark’s Methodist Church (Lockhart): Precinct 401

Southside Club House (Luling): Precincts 201, 202

Dale Community Center (Dale): Precincts 400, 405

Lockhart Evening Lions Club (Lockhart): Precinct 111

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