Despite pandemic, in-person early voting for runoff election is three times higher than 2016 in Bexar County

An extra week of early voting may have increased turnout. Election Day is July 14.

(Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman via AP) (Chris Landsberger)

SAN ANTONIO – An additional week of early voting may have played a role in turnout during early voting for the runoff election in Bexar County, according to data provided by the county’s election department.

Over the past two weeks, more than 36,000 people have cast a ballot in Bexar County during the runoff election. The numbers are much higher than the early voting period of the 2016 presidential runoff election, when only 10,828 people cast a ballot in-person between May 16-20. Mail-in ballots have not yet been processed in this election.

In May, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added the extra week of early voting due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. Abbott said the move was necessary so “election officials can implement appropriate social distancing and safe hygiene practices.”

Some in Texas also fought for an expansion to mail-in voting due to the pandemic, but the Texas Supreme Court ruled that fear of infection does not qualify someone to vote by mail.

What remains to be seen is how the turnout on July 14 will be affected by the higher early voting turnout, and maybe more importantly, the pandemic.

“My only challenge is trying to figure out if these numbers will hold,” said Jacque Callanen, the elections administrator.

Callanen said most voters took all precautions, coming in with a mask and voting with a glove on.

Friday is the last day to vote early. Election day is slated for July 14, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

READ MORE: Who’s on the ballot in Bexar County for the July 14 runoff?

Find more coverage on our Vote 2020 page.

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