Local election officials are urging people to be aware of potential vote harvesting. Unlawful gathering of ballots occurs when a person or multiple people collect and deliver ballots and submit them to the early voting clerk instead of the voter submitting it him or herself.
Recently, concerns have risen locally about votes being brought to people who are unable to travel to the polling location, filling out the ballot and submitting them for those recipients.
However, instructions for submitting absentee ballots state that a person who votes absentee must either deliver it in person, by mail, fax or email. If the voter sends it by fax or email, the ballot still must be signed by the voter before sending and also mailed to the early voting clerk within four business days after the clerk receives it.
All absentee ballots must be signed and dated. No voter shall allow another person, especially a stranger, to bring in the ballot on his or her behalf.
Absentee ballot applications must be received by the early voting clerk no later than 11 days before election day. If someone is assisted in completing the absentee ballot application, the assistant must do so in the voter’s presence and sign at the bottom of the application and provide his or her name and residential address. An assistant is not allowed to suggest who to vote for. Any assistance or witness provided without a signature is a Class A misdemeanor.
Also, any coercion in the voting process is illegal. Voters should beware of anyone who works in a candidate-consultant, donor-consultant, consultant-field operative role removed by some degree from the campaign and is collecting ballots for individuals. Beware of anyone who may attempt to give a person a ballot under false pretenses.
Elderly and disabled voters are most often targeted.
For more information about absentee ballots and guidelines for voting absentee, visit www.sos.state.tx.us/elections.
If you notice anyone harvesting ballots, report it to the Atascosa County attorney Lucinda Vicker’s office by calling (830) 769-3573 or the Texas Secretary of State office by calling 1-800-252-8683.
Early voting for the Pleasanton school board election will take place April 25, 26, 29 and 30 at the Pleasanton ISD Central Office located at 831 Stadium Dr. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Early Voting for the Poteet school board election will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Poteet ISD Central Office Board Room located at 1100 School Drive. Early voting for Poteet municipal elections will be in the Poteet Junior High cafeteria. Early voting for elections in Poteet will also be April 25, 26, 29, 30.
The election day will be Saturday, May 4.