Bexar County Commissioners Tuesday approved a canvassing authority report for a special election hosted by the County on May 7 to fill the vacancy for Texas House District 120. The election to fill retired state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon’s unexpired term featured four candidates, with the bulk of the votes split between Laura Thompson and Lou Miller.
The report, which was completed late Tuesday afternoon, showed that the initial election round cost taxpayers about $82,000.
“As many of you know, that election had 2,200 people vote in it,” said Jacque Callanen, Bexar County elections administrator. Because “no one received the majority vote, the two candidates will go into a runoff,” sometime in July. Callanen said that she expects the special elections to cost $164,000 in total.
Following the Commissioners’ unanimous approval, Callanen said she would send the order to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“We’re making a mockery of (the) democracy of voting when we’ve called 14 elections in one year,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, referring to the slew of special elections in 2015. “It’s just so terrible what the legislature has done, setting up all these special elections, all the different dates. Voters are already not voting, but the system is really putting the cold water on it.”
Precinct 2 Commissioner Paul Elizondo told the court that he, along with Callanen and Wolff, plans to meet with San Antonio delegates soon to discuss a possible legislative solution.
“If this was a local office, we’d pay for it, but why should we pay for a state office if the governor calls the election?,” he said.
The legislative solution would give the state the option to either pay for the election themselves or declare the plurality or simple majority for the election, something that has been done by the state in the past, Elizondo said.
Top image: Judge Nelson Wolff. Photo by Scott Ball.