Here’s a headline Texas Republicans probably weren’t looking for when they passed SB1, their voter suppression law: "‘I’ve never missed a vote’: 95-year-old World War II Veteran says his mail-in ballot application has been denied twice due to new requirements.”
“I’ve been voting many, many years and I’ve never missed a vote,” Kenneth Thompson told local news reporter Taisha Walker. He’s been voting so long he paid a poll tax. (The official kind that’s now been replaced with endless and sometimes costly hoops to jump through.) But Texas Republicans have jeopardized Thompson’s unbroken record.
Voters asking for a mail ballot are now required to include a partial Social Security number or driver’s license number on the ballot application—and that number has to match what’s on their registration record. But when Kenneth Thompson registered to vote in the 1940s, voter registrations did not include those numbers, so he literally cannot provide the information required. There is no number that would match his voter registration. As a result, his ballot application was denied twice, even after his daughter contacted both county and state officials to try to get the issue resolved.
“We know it’s a new law, we’re happy to correct it,” Thompson’s daughter, Delinda Holland, said. “He’s a law-abiding citizen. He doesn’t want to miss voting, and yet, there’s no mechanism to add that driver’s license to your record.”
Instead, Holland finally re-registered her father—after he’d been voting for more than seven decades—to ensure that he’d be eligible to vote. He says if he doesn’t get a mail ballot, he will vote in person, but he’s concerned about people for whom that’s not an option.
”I can get out and move around and go to a regular polling place, but these people, lots of people just can’t.”
Elderly white men who served in World War II are not who Texas Republicans were aiming to disenfranchise with this law. But the fact that they cast a net broad enough to catch at least one such person shows how many voters are going to run into problems—problems that in the case of people in groups that lean Democratic are fully intentional. A new analysis by Mother Jones showed that a Georgia law similarly aimed at making it more difficult to vote worked as planned, leading to dramatic increases in the number of mail ballot applications and mail ballots rejected in the state’s 2021 municipal elections. Texas appears to be on track for the same stellar results.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos