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San Antonio

Bexar County Elections Still Counting Some Ballots; Free COVID Testing Offered To Staff

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Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen holds a press conference on Nov 6 to discuss mail ballots and COVID-19 testing.

Election Day was Tuesday, but Bexar County still has some ballots to count — specifically those that were postmarked and arrived the next day, and military ballots.

The deadline to get a mail ballot postmarked was 7 p.m. on Election Day. To be counted, it needed to be received by the elections office by 5 p.m. the next day. Military ballots that were mailed on Election Day have up to six days for the ballot to arrive. About 8,500 military members voted by mail.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen says her office did not have an exact count of how many ballots were received by the next-day deadline.

“The early ballot board is working on them but I don’t have a final count yet,” she said. “They haven’t turned them back to us.”

The county saw record usage of mail ballots this year. Almost 120,000 ballots were mailed out to voters who requested them. About 90,000 were back in the elections office by Election Day. That doesn’t include the number that arrived the day after. Callanen said about 17,000 people who requested a ballot had instead voted in person.

The highest usage seen previously was 58,000 mail ballots sent out and 39,000 received back in 2016.

The elections office is also counting provisional ballots which are voted by people who may have had an issue.

“The staff has to go through each one of those to see if they person was registered, if their application got here too late, if they were in another county, there’s a lot of work that they have to go through for each of these,” she said

More than 760,000 people voted by the end of Election Day but that number is expected to grow slightly as the post-election day mail is counted.

Free COVID-19 testing is being made available to all of its elections workers. There were nearly 50 early voting sites and each site had measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, many saw thousands of people pass through.

“…That’s a lot of one-on-one and even though we took all of those precautions we still have to put everybody’s mind at ease,” Callanen said.

Election Day had 302 staffed with election officials. About 800 elections staff members had signed up by the end of Friday, which is about half the staff.

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