WWII Vet, 95, Says Mail-in Ballot Application Rejected Twice Under Texas Law: 'I've Never Missed a Vote'

Kenneth Thompson of Harris County will vote in person if he has to: "He's a law-abiding citizen. He doesn't want to miss voting, and yet, there's no mechanism [to fix the problem]," his daughter said

Kenneth Thompson, 95, says he is worried about casting his ballot in Texas' upcoming elections.

The World War II veteran, who lives in Harris County (which includes Houston), has submitted two applications to receive a mail-in ballot. Both have been rejected, he told local TV station KPRC.

The new state law SB1 requires voters requesting mail-in ballots to include an identification number — a driver's license, state-issued ID or a portion of a Social Security Number — that matches the number that person used to register to vote.

Otherwise, the application is rejected.

"He registered to vote in the 1940s and they didn't require that," Thompson's daughter, Delinda Holland, told KPRC.

"I've been voting many, many years and I've never missed a vote," Thompson told the station, adding that he will head to the polls in person if he ultimately is not able to vote by mail.

"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.

Holland said she had to re-register her father ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline to make sure he's eligible to vote in the March 1 primary.

"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."

voting coronavirus
A voter casts their ballot in a Democratic presidential primary election at the Hamilton High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2021. KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB1 into law in September 2021 after some Democratic lawmakers fled the state to delay the passage of a previous voting rights bill over the summer. SB1 includes a number of changes to elections in Texas in addition to the mail-in ballot application process.

"There's gonna be a lot of people not gonna vote," Thompson argued of the new rules. "If I hadn't have called in about mine, people wouldn't have known."

Thompson, who served in Europe with the U.S. Army during WWII, said he hasn't missed an election since he began voting in his early 20s and considers casting a ballot his duty. "I've been voting many, many years," he said.

In Travis County, which includes Austin, elections officials said 27 percent of mail-in ballot applications for the primary had been rejected due to SB1.

"Voters are going to be playing the same guessing game, they don't remember. So how do we advise them? So far, we have not received instructions from the Secretary of State's Office to tell voters how to go," County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said in a press conference earlier this month.

The secretary of state told TV station KVUE in a statement that they did reach out to DeBeauvoir's office, which is why "their rejection rate was revised from 50 percent down to 27 percent."

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