Ten Grammys, around 80 albums—a dozen of them platinum—and generations of fans will only get you so far, as Willie Nelson showed this week. It was revealed that the Red Headed Stranger’s initial request for a mail-in ballot to vote in Texas’ primary election was denied due to the state’s restrictive new voting laws.
In a statement to the Austin American-Statesman, Willie’s wife Annie D’Angelo-Nelson said that both she and her husband had to apply twice in order to receive their at-home ballots. Their first attempt was rejected due to inconsistent identification provided on the forms. As reported in the Associated Press, Annie expressed concern for those with less determination and understanding of the absentee ballot requirements than her and her husband.
According to an analysis by the Associated Press, Texas threw out over 23,000 ballots in the nation’s first primary of 2022. That translates to roughly 13% of all ballots sent in prior to March 1st across The Lone Star State’s 187 counties. In that same AP analysis, experts said that anything over 2% general draws attention. The Texas Tribune reports that officials in Travis County—where the Nelsons live—had rejected “about half” of the ballots they had received less than two months before the election.
In accordance with the new laws, voters in Texas must include their driver’s license number or state ID number in their mail-in ballot application. If they do not have a driver’s license, they must instead provide the last four digits of their social security number. Applicants without any such documentation can indicate so on their application. Counties must then match those numbers with the numbers they have on file in order to issue a mail-in ballot.