With more deaths, hospitalizations, and cases of the novel coronavirus reported each day in Bexar County, more election officials have decided against working on election day Tuesday.
The Bexar County Elections Department announced Monday night that three more voting locations, 11 in total, would not open on Tuesday. Cameron Elementary School, Storm Elementary School, and Corbett Middle School will be closed, bringing the total number of polling sites open on Tuesday to 214.
The elections department already reduced the number of voting locations last week after some election officials said they could not serve due to their risk of contracting the coronavirus. On Monday, Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said she was proud of the election workers’ courage during the coronavirus pandemic.
Voters will be redirected through signage at Cameron to go to Claude Black Community Center, 2805 E. Commerce St., or Sam Houston High School, 4635 E. Houston St.
Voters will be redirected to Sarah King Elementary, 1001 Ceralvo St.
Corbett Middle School
Voters will be redirected to Universal City Library, 100 Northview Drive.
“Today, we had three teams decline to serve, because of the COVID-19 virus,” Callanen said in a statement. “Please keep in mind that the average judge’s age is 72, so we certainly understand their concerns.
“One of the best things our wonderful voters in Bexar County can do is to wear a mask when they cast their ballot, as well as socially distance. We understand that although the masks are not mandatory to vote, it would be a way of showing respect for our judges and election personnel.”
Though Bexar County will have fewer voting locations than former election days, the primary runoff has already attracted a relatively high turnout for this type of election.
At the end of the two-week early voting period – extended due to the coronavirus pandemic – 55,015 Bexar County residents cast their ballots in person. That works out to a 5 percent turnout so far, not including mail-in ballots or election day votes. Callanen said primary runoff elections usually draw a 2 percent to 5 percent turnout.
“We’re pleasantly surprised,” Callanen said last week.
In 2016, the last primary runoff during a presidential election year, only 2.7 percent of Bexar County voters cast ballots overall. This year’s election may have gained more turnout due to a contested Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, as well as the departure of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Helotes), pushing the Republican nomination for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District into a competitive runoff.
What’s on the ballot?
What you see on the ballot depends on what party’s primary runoff you’re voting in and in what part of Bexar County you live. The Republican ballot includes contests for U.S. representative, State Board of Education, and county commissioner. Democratic runoff voters may see a state senator, county commissioner, constable, or precinct chair race.
At the top of the ballot, Royce West and MJ Hegar are vying for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, with the winner taking on Republican incumbent John Cornyn. The other Democratic statewide race has Chrysta Castañeda and Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo facing off for the railroad commissioner nomination. Both Republican and Democratic voters will see county political party chair candidates on their ballots.
You must vote in the same party primary in which you voted in March, but you may vote in the runoff even if you didn’t cast a ballot in March.
How can I determine if I’m registered to vote?
You can check your voter registration status here. All you need is your Voter ID number or Texas Driver License number, your name, county of residence, and date of birth.
When can I vote?
Election day is Tuesday, July 14, and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bexar County residents can vote anywhere in the county, thanks to the vote center model that was implemented last November.
What do I need to bring with me to vote?
You need to provide one of the following seven forms of identification:
- Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
- Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
- Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
- United States Military Identification Card containing your photograph
- United States Citizenship Certificate containing your photograph
- United States Passport (book or card)
If you don’t have one of the seven forms of identification listed above and can’t reasonably get one, you can bring one of these:
- A copy or original of a government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate;
- A copy of or original current utility bill;
- A copy of or original bank statement;
- A copy of or original government check;
- A copy of or original paycheck; or
- A copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law that establishes your identity, which may include a foreign birth document.
If your name for some reason does not appear on the list of registered voters but you did register to vote in time, you can cast a provisional ballot.
Where can I vote?
There are 214 polling locations total in Bexar County. (There were originally supposed to be 225, but the Bexar County Elections Department had to close 11 sites after election officials who were fearful for their health during the coronavirus pandemic bowed out.) On election day, July 14, voters no longer are confined to specific precincts and can vote at any Bexar County polling location.
What about mail-in and absentee ballots?
The coronavirus pandemic has touched off legal fights about who should be eligible to vote by mail. The Texas Supreme Court determined in May that not having immunity to the novel coronavirus is not a “disability” and does not qualify a voter to cast a ballot by mail. But the court also said voters can consider their own health and health history to decide whether to apply to vote by mail due to disability.
You can vote by mail if you are:
- Going to be away from your county on election day and during early voting
- Sick or disabled
- 65 years of age or older on election day
- Confined in jail but eligible to vote
Applications for absentee ballots must have been received by the elections department by July 2. And for your vote to count, your mailed-in ballot must be received by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14.