A small change took place during the state special legislative session last year, one that at least one local election administrator expects will make it harder for Texans to apply to vote by mail. Texans who want to apply to vote by mail in the state must now do so by mail. In the past, voters could also apply by email or fax. Those options still exist, but they must be supplemented with a mailed application, received by the early voting clerk after no more than four business days. The change, which was passed as part of SB 5, would “make it more challenging for voters to apply for that ballot,” Fort Bend County Election Administrator John Oldham wrote in a news release.
Voters were able to begin submitting applications on Jan. 1. It was too early to tell what effect — if any — the new law might have.
“It’s just an inconvenience to the voters,” Oldham said by phone.
In the March 2016 primary, 4,198 people voted by mail in Fort Bend County, according to online secretary of state records. In Harris County, 33,814 people voted by mail.