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Early Voting Is At An All-Time High In Bexar County

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen holds a press conference on Monday, Oct 26 to provide an update on early voting in Bexar County.

Bexar County has hit an all-time high for early voting.

By the end of Monday night, 465,000 voters had cast their ballots in person in Bexar County. That’s more than the early voting numbers for both the 2016 and 2018 elections — which each had six fewer days of voting. This year’s total through Election Day is expected to exceed those years’ totals as well, according to the top elections official in Bexar County, Jacque Callanen.

The polls will be open longer than they have been for any previous election in the final days of early voting – a total of 14 hours each day. The county’s 48 early voting sites will be open from 8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.

“These are the long, long days. So please, everyone, be kind to your election officials. They’re going into new territory,” said Callanen, Bexar County Elections Administrator.

Friday is the last day of early voting.

In 2016, a total of 598,600 had cast a ballot by the time the election was over. Two years later, 551,900 had voted by the end of the 2018 election.

This year, Callanen anticipates more than 175,000 will vote on Election Day itself, which will outpace previous years.

“Bexar County loves early voting. It absolutely loves early voting. On Election Day in 2016, it was relatively quiet. We only had 122,000 people vote on Election Day.,” she said.

By the end of Election Day this year, Callanen said she believed the total would be ‘well north’ of 700,000 votes cast.

This election contains six extra days of early voting to ensure the voting process is safe during the pandemic. Extra days to vote were also seen during the July Primary Runoff this year, but no other election has had that many early voting days.

The county is also seeing record usage of mail ballots. More than 116,000 ballots have been sent to voters and as of Tuesday the election’s office has received 77,000 completed ballots, a record-shattering number.

Voters who want to track their ballot can do so using the election’s website.

The ballot tracker updates as soon a ballot is scanned back in at the election’s office. To track a ballot, a voter needs their name, date of birth and the last four digits of their social security number or driver’s license number.

It’s a new system, and Callanen said it has seen its moments of complexity.

For instance, some voters who first registered to vote many years ago may not be able to use the tracker.

“The registration card did not require either a driver’s license or a social [security number] so they can’t complete the tracker because they are missing those two on their record.”

If your ballot has not shown up as “received,” you can call the election’s office to check its status.

Statewide, the Texas Secretary of State’s office reports that roughly 7.8 million Texans have cast a ballot in person or by mail by the end of Monday night.

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules