Newly registered Texas voters could face delays

October 18, 2008 2:45:01 PM PDT
A paperwork backlog could cause delays or hassles for recently registered Texas voters who try to cast ballots during the early voting period that begins Monday, state officials said. Thousands of Texans who registered just before the Oct. 6 deadline will likely find their names missing from official voter lists, officials said. They will be allowed to cast ballots but may have to fill out special forms at polling stations or wait a few days before voting.

Officials blamed a late rush of registration applications to beat the deadline and maintenance to a computer database of Social Security numbers for the potential problems.

"We were keeping up very well with the increased load, but we started to run a little behind when the Social Security Administration closed their (computer program) down for maintenance last weekend," Ashley Burton, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Hope Andrade, said in a story in Saturday editions of the Houston Chronicle. "Since the start of October there has been a huge increase in the number of new voter records that the counties have submitted for verification."

About 70 employees in the voter registrar's office in Houston were planning to work through the weekend to clear a backlog of about 30,000 applications, Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt said. He expected about 7,000 applications from Harris County residents to require extra verification and said they probably won't be cleared before Monday, the first of 12 days of early voting.

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