AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Some college students had issues with their absentee ballot applications, and it could cost them a vote this election.
Mackenzie Matheson — a student at North Western University in Illinois — said she sent in her absentee ballot application to the Travis County Elections Office in early October 2022.
According to Matheson, she received a notice that she made an error on that application. While the letter was written on Oct. 24 with a deadline to correct issues and resubmit the application by Oct. 28, the envelope with the notice was postmarked on Oct. 29.
“This is outrageous and an upsetting attempt at preventing me from voting in an incredibly important election, especially when voter turnout among my age group is so low,” Matheson said.
Matheson said she won’t be able to vote.
Ivy Grossberg, a college student in Houston, had a similar issue.
“All of my friends that I know that have tried to get absentee ballots have had issues with it,” Grossberg said. “I’m lucky enough that I could drive to Austin, the day of [Election Day], but people that I know that have had the same issue—they can’t because they’re out of state.”
The Secretary of State’s Office said anyone in a similar situation can go to vote in person on Election Day, if possible.
“It’s really disheartening to hear because I applied for a reason,” Matheson said. “I think if this keeps happening, and all these groups are unable to vote, that could have a severe impact.”
While both Matheson and Grossberg own up to making issues on their applications initially, they’re disheartened the Travis County Elections Office didn’t take more initiative to help them correct the problem.
“It sucks that the election office isn’t going to be held accountable,” Grossberg said.
The Travis County Elections Office did not address their notices being postmarked after the deadline to re-apply for absentee ballots, but did write in a statement:
“The Travis County Clerk Election Division’s top priority is ensuring that every voter gets the opportunity to participate in elections. We’re always available to help with ballot by mail applications, which can be submitted as early as Jan. 1 for elections held that year. It’s unfortunate when anyone is unable to vote because of errors on their applications, so we always encourage absentee voters to apply early to ensure they meet the statewide deadline.”