For an election beleaguered by fears of voter fraud and intimidation, polling stations in Bexar County have run surprisingly smoothly, though participation has been lower than expected, election officials said.

“We’re at 99,500,” Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen said at a 5 p.m. news conference. “That’s far from my (160,000) that I wanted this morning, but we still have the two busiest hours coming. Everything’s going fine at the poll sites. Lots of activity. We can see the numbers going up.”

A small handful of voters did report issues, mostly because they were not registered to vote or did not realize they needed to go to their specific polling site to cast their ballot.

While the Trump campaign has called on supporters to monitor polling stations – leading to concerns over voter intimidation – Callanen received information of only one such case today.

“The election judge at … (the) Blue Skies (of Texas polling site) had a person that would continually come in the polls to watch what was going on who didn’t have the authority to do it,” Callanen said. “So she was calling to tell me that she ran him off, and that he was angry, but he had no standing to be there.”

Outside polling stations, a number of voters said they were driven to the polls for the first time in years because of the presidential race.

After leaving the polls at Lanier High School, George Velarde said he hadn’t paid attention to politics much until the Trump campaign caught his attention.

“He’s not a president. It would be the joke of the country if that guy won,” he told the Rivard Report. “But both of them ain’t too good, so you have no choice.”

Others were driven by fear of the opposite candidate.

“I don’t see how a person like (Hillary Clinton) is going to be that beneficial for our country,” said Alejandro Cantu, pointing to scandals surrounding her private email server and the Clinton Foundation.

Bexar County saw record voting turnout numbers during early voting this year, mainly due to a surge in registration bolstered by San Antonio’s rising population. While the percentage of registered voters casting ballots was unusually high at first, that figure slowed relative to other years toward the end of last week. Today’s lower-than-expected numbers may demonstrate that early voting records represent a shift in when voters cast their ballots rather than an actual rise in turnout rates.

But the final hours of voting, expected to run late if lines are long, may prove otherwise.

“It is one of our rights,” one voter said when asked what brought him to the polls. “If you’ve been in other countries, they don’t have rights. We have that right. We might not have the best candidates, but at least we have the choice.”

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Daniel Kleifgen

Daniel Kleifgen graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., he came to San Antonio in 2013 as a Teach For America corps member.