Taylor Co. elections office receiving thousands of mail-in ballot requests


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – There is one month left for those eligible to request a mail-in ballot for the November election.

“Ballot by mail requests are up from where they were in 2016,” says Freda Ragan, Taylor County elections administrator.

Officials at the elections office say they’ve already received more than 4,500.

“Voters that have a request on file with us should expect to see their ballots arriving in their mailbox this week,” says Ragan.

There are several qualifications you must first meet in order to receive a mail-in ballot.

“You have to be 65 years or older, disabled, you’re going to be absent from the county during early voting and election day, or you’re confined to jail. But otherwise you would be eligible,” says Ragan.

Ragan says lingering COVID-19 concerns are changing how some people want to vote.

“Some of the older generation, those that are more vulnerable to the COVID, I think that we have some of those who have chosen to vote by mail,” she says.

Another group of voters facing a difficult decision is college students.

“They’re really struggling. Do they change their registration here and vote in person or do they do mail-in voting? This is one reason why a lot of younger people in college don’t participate in voting, because it can get confusing or they can forget to meet deadlines,” says Dr. Paul Fabrizio, political science professor at McMurry University.

One of the biggest concerns for mail-in voters is receiving their ballots on time.

“I have spoken in person to our local postmaster and he has assured me, as always, our ballots here in Abilene, they do take top priority with our mail ballots,” says Ragan.

The same concerns span nationwide.

“Even though there has been cuts in the post office, the post office still does really good at Christmas time too, and they handle much more mail at Christmas than they are going to handle on election day,” says Dr. Fabrizio.

Governor Abbott is allowing voters to hand-deliver ballots to their elections office.

The last day to submit a request in the Taylor County elections office is Oct. 23, but Ragan says don’t wait, because it does take time to process that request before the ballots are mailed out.

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