HOUSTON – A Harris County man fears new voting laws may prevent him from voting by absentee ballot for the first time in his lifetime.
Kenneth Thompson, 95, has been checking his mail daily in hopes his mail-in ballot is among the pile.
Thompson has been voting since he was 21-years-old, and he even recalls paying a $0.25 poll tax in the 1950′s.
“I’ve been voting many, many years and I’ve never missed a vote,” Thompson said.
Thompson considers voting a duty. He served in the U.S. Army in WWII during the European Theater for the right to vote and other freedoms.
Decades later, the vet fears Texas’ new election law, SB1, could prevent him from voting for the first time in his life.
Per law, Thompson must either provide part of his social security number or his driver’s license number that matches his registration record with the county or state.
“He registered to vote in the 1940′s and they didn’t require that,” said Thompson’s daughter, Delinda Holland.
Since Holland can’t meet the new requirement, his mail-in ballot application was denied twice. The veteran said Harris County election officials never notified him and he had to call to find out both times.
“There’s gonna be a lot of people not gonna vote,” Thompson said. “If I hadn’t have called in about mine, people wouldn’t have known.”
Thompson’s daughter, Holland, who has only missed voting in one bond election herself, said she’s even tried contacting the county and state Secretary of State’s Office to add her dad’s license number to his registration file online. She said she discovered there’s not actually a way to have that done.
“We know it’s a new law, we’re happy to correct it,” 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.”
Holland said she had to re-register her dad last week to ensure he makes the Jan. 31, 2022 voter registration deadline. Thompson said he hopes he’ll have a ballot in the mail soon, otherwise he plans to vote in person.
“I can get out and move around and go to a regular polling place, but these people, lots of people just can’t,” Thompson said.
He’s concerned about other mail-in voters who might not receive a ballot in the mail for the March Primary Election due to potential issues with their applications.