County election workers barely had a chance to catch their breath after the May 7 bond election before jumping into preparations for early voting for the May 24 state primary runoff.
And voters who went to the polls earlier this month expecting to see runoffs on the ballot will have just five days during early voting — all weekdays — to get to the polls to vote on races that were undecided after the March 1 primary. Early voting begins Monday and ends Friday, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The short early voting period has political consultants involved in runoff races concerned about “voter fatigue and voter confusion,” said Kelton Morgan, who is running state Rep. Ina Minjarez’s campaign for Bexar County judge.
“We had a primary election, then you had a wholly unrelated election [May 7] in the middle of it, and I know a lot of people who showed up to vote and didn’t understand why the county judge race wasn’t on the ballot,” he said.
The absence of early voting on the weekend could hurt turnout among young workers, said Kelsey Brandt, vice president of the Bexar County Young Democrats.
“That is something that is very frustrating for younger people who are typically working full-time jobs,” Brandt said. “… For people who are retired, it’s a lot easier to get out to early vote. But if you’re working a full-time job, and there’s five days, one week. It’s hard.”
The ballot features races undecided in March because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote. The top two vote-getters from these races will appear on the runoff ballot.
Voters must vote in the same party primary in which they voted in March, but voters who didn’t cast a ballot in the earlier round can vote in the runoff.
The most-watched local runoff is the one for the Democratic nomination for county judge. Former family court Judge Peter Sakai and state Rep. Ina Minjarez are vying to face Republican Trish DeBerry in November for the seat being vacated by Democrat Nelson Wolff after more than two decades.
In addition to runoffs for statewide elections such as the Republican contest for attorney general, Bexar County voters will determine party nominees in several congressional races.
For voters in the 28th Congressional District, the Democratic ballot will feature the hotly contested runoff between U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and challenger Jessica Cisneros. In the 21st District, Claudia Andreana Zapata is facing Ricardo Villarreal for the right to take on the Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, in November.
On the Republican ballot, there’s also a runoff in the 28th District, where Cassy Garcia and Sandra Whitten are vying for the nomination. In the 35th District, Dan McQueen faces Michael Rodriguez in a contest to see who will face Democrat Greg Casar for an open seat.
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. representatives in districts 28 and 35, state House District 122 and Bexar County party chairman. Democratic runoff voters will see the runoffs for congressional races in districts 28 and 21, Bexar County judge and State Board of Education. Both ballots also include runoffs for judicial seats and local precinct chairs.
The ballot also features statewide runoff races for Texas attorney general (both parties), lieutenant governor (Democrat), land commissioner (both parties), comptroller (Democrat) and railroad commissioner (Republican).
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?
Early voting starts Monday, May 16, and ends Friday, May 20. Hours for early voting are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Election day is Tuesday, May 24.
Can I vote by mail?
The deadline to apply to vote by mail has passed, but if you requested one and plan to vote by mail, the Bexar County Elections Department has detailed instructions here on how to make sure your vote counts.
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 are 70 or older and your ID is expired, you may still present it as a form of identification.
If you don’t have one of these seven forms of identification and can’t reasonably get one, you can fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form at the polls and present an alternative form of ID, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check, or your voter registration certificate.
Where can I vote?
There are 35 voting locations throughout Bexar County, including the Elections Department at 1103 S. Frio St., and voters can cast ballots at any of them. Find the full list here.
Have more questions?
Check out VoteTexas.gov. Or ask us in the comments, and we’ll find an answer for you.
This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Kelsey Brandt’s name.