NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips said Monday his county is seeing an unusually large number of people surrendering their mail-in ballot at their polling location so they can vote in-person instead, and are also hand-delivering their mail ballots to his office.
Tarrant County Elections Administrator Heider Garcia said the county is also seeing some people surrendering mail ballots to vote in person.
Neither had specific numbers so far.
CBS 11 has not heard back yet from Dallas and Collin Counties about this situation.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Texans requested mail-in ballots, but concerns over the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver the ballots on-time has some people changing their minds.
For those who want to vote in-person after requesting a mail-in ballot, elections law attorney Elizabeth Alvarez of Guest & Gray, strongly recommends they bring it with them to their polling location.
“You can turn it in to your election judge or clerk and they will allow you then to vote a regular ballot, but if you don’t, you’re going to have to vote provisionally,” said Alvarez.
For those who don’t and cast a provisional ballot, they should know that it won’t count right away.
The provisional ballot must be reviewed and approved by each county’s ballot board, made up of both Democrats and Republicans.
Garcia also said Monday there have been a little over 1,000 provisional ballots cast by voters who requested an absentee ballot, but who decided to vote in person without surrendering their mail ballot first.
Garcia said if people don’t cancel their mail ballots, the Ballot Board will count the provisional ballot.
Alvarez said this is common practice. “If the registrar says we never got a mail in ballot back from that individual they say okay, they didn’t vote, we’ll process the provisional ballot. If the registrar can’t find it or isn’t sure, that’s when you might have a situation.”
If people don’t surrender their mail ballot right away, and cast a provisional ballot, Alvarez said there is still time to do so if people act quickly. “If you are feeling inclined to be helpful, you could drive home and get it and bring it back to your election judge, so they could include it with your provisional when they turn it in.”
For those who still want to use their mail ballot, but are unsure about the postal service, they can fill it out and drop it off at the county’s designated site.
Phillips said Monday the county has seen a number of people also doing this.