SAN ANTONIO – The first day of early voting on Monday saw a record turnout of 35,341 people. Jacquelyn Callanen, Bexar County elections administrator, said the closest comparable figure was 30,087 votes cast the first day in 2012, the last presidential election year.
Given the initial numbers, Callanen said she hopes to see a 60 percent turnout before Election Day. She said in preparation for the expected turnout, Bexar County set up 43 polling sites, more than it ever has.
Callanen said to help avoid long lines, she recommends checking for another nearby polling site that may have a shorter wait.
She said what usually takes up time is qualifying each voter to make sure they’re registered and recorded, so they don’t go elsewhere and vote again.
Callanen also said her staff has removed and replaced any incorrect signage that now reflects the latest court decision, allowing other forms of identification. She said the mix-up occurred as a result of several earlier court rulings.
The elections administrator also asked voters to be patient.
“I do not want to jeopardize the integrity of the election for speed,” Callanen said.
During her update, Callanen also addressed an incident Monday at the Castle Hills polling site in which a voter subjected others in line to crude and racially offensive language.
She asked, “Where’s respect? Where’s our manners? Where’s our humanity?”
An elections judge at Castle Hills City Hall said she was so busy Monday that she was unaware of the incident.
“We’re still getting little pockets of it where someone is in line and they get quite vocal," Callanen said.
Callanen said election judges should be notified of such problems so they can tell law enforcement if it occurs within 100 feet of the polling site. She said beyond that boundary, there is nothing election judges can do, unless other officials, such as a librarian on site, is told of a problem.
She said talk of terrorists by someone in line at the Las Palmas polling site on the West Side resulted in officers and police dogs responding.
“Of course, it was nothing. Thank God it was nothing,” Callanen said.
Early voting continues through November 4.