An election official claimed my friend’s provisional ballot would go uncounted, and be thrown in the trash. This is NOT true. Demand your ballot, and vote.
I showed up at my polling place today in Dallas County, steeled and ready to vote. I had jumped through all the hoops, filled out online forms, printed, signed, mailed, signed again, and secured ID and even proof of residency to bring to the polls this afternoon. I was ready for today. So I cast my vote.
My polling location was Addison Firestation #1 (4798 Airport Pkwy, Addison, TX 75001). I was there from 11:00-11:30AM local time.
Not everybody was as prepared as me, including a friend of mine, who had recently changed addresses and had a re-registration issue. So, while at the polling location – I asked on behalf of my friend how to cast a vote via provisional ballot. Here is what happened:
The man in charge of helping was a Dallas County Election Judge named Jonathan Smith. In Texas, Election Judges are members of the community elected by their parties. Smith is a Republican, according to the Dallas County Elections Office. When I asked about my friend’s ballot, he said:
“Your friend can’t vote today if he doesn’t have his information like you.” I assured him, “don’t worry, we got the information and checked that it’s allowed.”
He paused and said, “it usually isn’t done.” I said, “let’s figure out how to do it!”
There was another pause. People in line were watching. Then he told me, “your friend would have to go in-person to explain why their information is different and it’s a long process.” I said, “that’s alright. We’ve got a lot of time today!”
The man continued, and finally said, “Here’s a dirty little secret: they don’t count the provisional votes. They just don’t count them. There’s no point.”
I was taken aback. By this point our back and forth had attracted some attention.
I told him, “Well, it can’t hurt to try.”
He said, “They won’t count provisional ballots. They throw them in the trash.”
I told him, “Be that as it may, my friend is still going to vote.” I smiled pleasantly and kept my tone light, but made it clear that I would not be deterred.
At this point a man waiting in line pulled me aside and urged me to get the provisional ballot anyway. The judge raised his voice and said “It won’t matter!” The man in line fired back, “Yes it DOES.”
This incident has been reported. The bottom line is, I am going to try to help make sure that anyone who can vote, votes. It is critical for Texans facing this type of situation to hold steady and demand their provision ballot, regardless of what anyone says.
Dallas County, Texas, everyone.
Voter suppression is real.
Time for a good fight today.