More than 2,000 Texans who registered to vote using an online tool provided by a California nonprofit could be in for a rude awakening on Election Day — they are not, in fact, officially registered. In September, vote.org, which uses technology to increase voter turnout and bring more people into the political process, rolled out the tool to help Texans register for the November election. It was available in Dallas, Bexar, Cameron and Travis counties ahead of Tuesday’s registration deadline. Applications began rolling in, even from outside those four counties. But on Monday, the office of the secretary of state, the top elections administrator, told the nonprofit the applications submitted through it weren’t valid because they didn’t have original signatures.
How to register to vote, who’s on the ballot and what you need to know for Texas’ midterm elections
On vote.org, applicants would answer questions that would auto-populate into a paper voter registration application. They would sign their name on a piece of paper, snap a photo of it and upload it to the online application.
The website would then fax and mail the application to elections administrators for processing. As long as the registrar received the mailed copy no later than the fourth day after the fax was received, the application should be valid, said Sarah Jackel, the nonprofit’s general counsel.
Jackel said her group has used the tool in Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, South Carolina and Washington, D.C., without any problems. The group did not consult with Secretary of State Rolando Pablos before launching in Texas, which does not have online voter registration and has some of the strictest voter identification laws in the nation.