More than 800 election judges and clerks who worked at polling places during early voting and on Election Day have signed up to be tested for the novel coronavirus early next week, Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said.
Callanen worked with the County and the University Health System to provide free tests for election workers. She said at a Friday news conference about half of the workers have signed up so far to be tested.
UHS will bring staff and testing equipment to the Elections Department next week, Callanen said.
“UHS wants [testing] to be [done] in a certain window … combining early voting and Election Day,” she said. “That’s why they chose Monday and Tuesday.”
Meanwhile, election officials are still processing military mail-in ballots as well as provisional ballots, Callanen said. The elections department mailed out about 8,500 absentee ballots to people living abroad; the deadline for military absentee ballots to be received is Monday.
The process of counting military ballots is also made more complicated by the federal write-in absentee ballot option, also known as FWAB. That gives military members and U.S. citizens living abroad the opportunity to vote for federal offices – president, U.S. senators, and U.S. representatives – if their “full” ballot with state and local races does not arrive in time to be submitted by the deadline.
Though military members can email their ballots by Election Day as a placeholder for their physical absentee ballot, the Elections Department still must receive the physical form by Monday for the vote to count. If a voter’s ballot does not come through the mail by then and they had submitted a FWAB earlier in the year, the Elections Department will simply count those votes, Callanen said.
“What this does is it assures the [voting] military personnel and the expats if their full ballot does not get back to them, we can count their federal ballot,” Callanen said.
The Elections Department sent out nearly 120,000 absentee ballots to non-military voters. The department received more than 89,000 back, Callanen said. And about 17,000 people surrendered their absentee ballots at the polls to vote in person. As of Election Day, election officials counted 760,931 votes cast during early voting, on Election Day, or by mail – a record. And they’re still counting.
“Bexar County did a great job voting this time,” she said.