Bexar County has been chosen to test a new absentee voting method that allows members of the military serving in a combat zone to vote using email.
Under the pilot program, approved during the last session of the Texas Legislature, members of the military serving in a war zone will simply request an absentee ballot by e-mail.
"Up until this program, every absentee ballot cast by members of the military had to be mailed back to us," said Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen. "We'll send the ballot to them - they will vote it and email it back to us."
Callanen said the pilot program has one possible drawback in that it compromises the premise of casting a secret ballot.
"That's the piece they will lose if they choose to do this," she said. "But there will be a designated person in this office to handle the ballots so everyone will not see it."
Callanen said the ballots will go directly into an envelope and will be personally handed over to the early ballot board.
Since this is a pilot program, there are still some things to be worked out, Callanen said. Next week her staff will meet with members of the Secretary of State's staff to address those issues.
The goal, she said, is to have the program up and running by next spring's primary elections.