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In the first 2 days of early voting, slightly more Democrats cast ballots than Republicans in Bexar County

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Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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The Bexar County Elections Office is severing as a early voting site for the 2022 primary election.

In the first two days of early voting, Bexar County residents cast 12,426 votes with a slight majority in the Democratic Primary compared to the Republican Primary.

It’s the first election to take place since the implementation of Senate Bill 1, the controversial new voting law in Texas that saw months of political discourse and multiple special legislative sessions. By comparison, the data for the first two days is higher compared to the last midterm primary election, 2018; however Bexar County has added approximately 90,000 more voters over the last four years.

At the end of registration last month, Bexar County has 1,194,389 registered voters for this 2022 primary election.

By the first two days in the 2018 primary, 9,779 voters had cast a ballot.

On Monday and Tuesday this year, Democrats showed the lead in ballots cast. The Democratic Primary had 6,695 voters across the 36 polling sites. Republicans had a slightly lower number at 5,731 voters.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said the biggest change voters will see at the polls after the passage of SB1 is poll watchers being able to move around the site.

“Prior to that they would sit or stand conveniently so that they could see or hear the voting qualifying table. But now they can, you know, see and walk around the area,” she said.

Another change is how eligible voters request a mail-in ballot. Voters who request a mail ballot via application must provide either their Social Security Number or Texas driver’s license number on the application. The information provided must match what the voter listed when they registered.

Initially, the changes led to high rejection rates in many counties, including Bexar County, as some voters could not remember which number they registered with. Callanen said that the rejection rate has gone down.

“We’re now literally, we’ve sloped somewhere between 8% and 12% depending on the day but when we started we were up in the 40s and 50% — so we’re pleased to see that it’s going down,” she said.

Those who are eligible to vote by mail have until Friday to request a mail ballot.

Texas limits eligibility to those voters who are 65 years or older, sick or disabled, out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance, expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day, or confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.

Callanen noted that mail ballot applications are annual.

“That means for all the next elections throughout this entire calendar year, 2022, they don’t have to send in another application because we’ll just automatically send them those ballots,” she said.

Voters who wish to request a mail ballot must have it in the county elections office by Friday, Feb. 18.

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