BEAUMONT, Texas — The March primary election is just six weeks away and key deadlines are fast approaching.
It'll be the first election to test Senate Bill 1. The new changes could affect the way you cast your vote, especially if you're hoping to vote with a mail-in ballot.
Senate Bill 1 boosts protections for partisan poll watchers and bans local voting initiatives like drive-thru and 24-hours voting. But the major change? It sets new rules for voting by mail.
More than 161 million US voters cast ballots in the 2020 prediction election. 43% of those voters voted by mail, but new requirements set by Senate Bill 1 are already affecting vote-by-mail eligibility in Texas.
RELATED: Eligible Texas voters have to register by Jan. 31 to cast ballot in the March 1 Primary Election
“Part of that is on the new form there is a portion of it that has you include your driver's license number or the last four digits of your social and that has to be matched with the state database,” Jefferson County Elections Manager Aaron Kelley said.
Other eligibility requirements include the following.
“One of it is that they are 65 years or older and one is that they are disabled if somebody's in confinement in a jail,” Kelley said.
People who were outside of the county during early voting or on Election Day, and pregnant voters who are expected to give birth three weeks before or after the election are eligible for a vote by mail ballot now it's time to request a vote-by-mail ballot.
“Call our office, (409) 835-8760. We now need a formal request so it's a written request signed by the voter and once that is processed then we're able to send out the mail ballot application,” Kelley said.
You'd receive it in plenty of time to vote in the March 1 primary. If you're denied a mail-in ballot, expect to get a call or letter from your county.
The deadline to request a mail-in ballot, if you qualify, is February 18. The county clerk's office also recommends every voter check their voter registration.
The registration deadline is January 31.