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Older Voters Having A Big Impact On Bexar County Elections

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
A chart showing the turnout of the May 2017 election by age. Created using Infogram.

The 2017 municipal election drew 116,000 Bexar County voters on May 6. That's about 11 percent of the county's registered voters. Voters age 65 and over cast 45 percent of the ballots, more than double any other age group, according to data from the Bexar County Elections Administration.

Voters between the ages of 55 and 64 cast the second largest number of ballots, 22 percent; ages 35 to 44 cast 10 percent; age 34 and under cast 9 percent of ballots.

You can see the full breakdown below:

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
A breakdown showing voters by age

The May election was rare because it included a bond issue for the Alamo Colleges in addition to a multi-part bond proposal for the City of San Antonio.

There are 1,030,000 registered voters in Bexar County, with about 750,000 in the City of San Antonio. Only voters who live in San Antonio will be able to vote in the mayoral and city council runoffs on June 10.

Still, Bexar County Elections administrator Jacque Callanen expects about the same number of voters to turn out for the runoff races.

“If we get anything over 100,000 that’s going to be wonderful,” she said.

The May municipal election for San Antonio included more than 70 candidates for the 10 council districts and mayor’s seat. In the runoff, 14 candidates are on the ballot for mayor and six council seats.  Callanen believes the pared down ballot may encourage a higher turnout.

“I think it’s harder for specific candidates to get their messages out when – for lack of a better term – there’s so much noise from all the other candidates. And so, I think that’s what we see for these run-offs, the candidates are better able to get their messages out,” Callanen said.

This year’s mayoral runoff race between incumbent Ivy Taylor and District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg is rare.  Runoffs for San Antonio mayor have only occurred twice in the last 15 years.

Two years ago appointed Mayor Ivy Taylor defeated Leticia Van de Putte in a runoff. Twelve years ago former Mayor Phil Hardberger defended his seat when he faced challenger Julian Castro. Castro became mayor in 2009.

Early voting begins Tuesday, May 30 and ends the following Tuesday, June 6.  Registered voters who live in the City of San Antonio are eligible to vote even if they did not vote in the May 6 election.