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Elections administrator scales back local voter turnout for Nov. 8 midterms

County elections administrator Jacque Callanen brief reporters on election turnout outside of the county election HQ on South Frio on Nov. 2, 2022.
Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
County elections administrator Jacque Callanen briefs reporters on election turnout outside of the county election HQ on South Frio on Nov. 2, 2022.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen on Wednesday scaled back voter turnout projections for the Nov. 8 midterm election by as much as 100,000.

When asked to predict voter turnout, Callanen compared it to looking into a crystal ball. But after looking at early voting turnout and mail-in ballot returns on Wednesday, she opted to place total voter turnout for the election around 550,000 voters.

Her most recent estimates had been around 650,000 of the county's 1.2 million voters.

Callanen said early voter turnout was lower when compared to the same period for the midterms of 2018.

"They're down about 13%, and so that sort of surprised us because, like we talked about last time. Our registration numbers went up by 11%," she told reporters gathered outside the county elections office on South Frio.

She said the percentage of mail-in ballots coming back in was looking good, but also not any higher than the 2018 numbers.

"We're really excited because we have 61% of percent our mail ballots back in. Now again, the numbers didn't go up. We still had under 40,000 mail ballot applications," she said.

She also said due to voter education efforts, only a few mail-in ballots have been rejected due to errors in filling them out. She placed the rejections at 26, but she said even those should be able to be returned to voters in time for them to be resubmitted and counted.

She also said the rejection rate is much lower than the 22% reported in the March primaries.

Callanen said the busiest early voting locations have been the Encino, Brookhollow, Cody, and Semmes Libraries, and Southside Lions Field.

The top four turnout locations are located in traditionally Republican Bexar County Precinct 3.

Callanen said early voting turnout is usually the heaviest on the last two days of early voting, which means this Thursday and Friday. She said voters should look at the county elections website for early voting locations where turnout has been light.

She said since voters can vote anywhere, they can reduce their wait times by voting at one with lower turnout.

There are 51 early voting locations open through Friday at city halls, colleges and universities, schools, libraries, community centers, and churches.

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