Bexar County voters 65 and older will be sent vote-by-mail applications later this month

Applications will be mailed by Sept. 15, officials say

A person drops into a mail box applications for mail-in ballots, in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – Following a recent Bexar County Court Commissioners meeting, the Bexar County Elections Department is preparing to send vote-by-mail application to all voters 65 or older.

On Thursday, Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen confirmed that the applications will be mailed by Sept. 15 ahead of the general election in November. The postage is pre-paid, allowing voters to apply without having to pay to send the form back.

Applications for mail-in ballots must be received by the elections office by October 23, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Bexar County Commissioners Court directed officials to proactively mail the application to eligible voters during a meeting on Aug. 18.

During the COVID-19 briefing later that day, Wolff said that there are roughly 250,000 voters age 65 or older in the county.

“I would encourage you if you get the application to file for it and vote by mail rather than having to come in or go to the poll,” Wolff said.

Mail-in voting has been heavily debated in Texas, one of the seven remaining states where voters are not universally eligible for a mail ballot.

Bexar County’s decision to send applications ahead of the election comes as the Harris County GOP and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged Harris County Clerk Chris Collins in court over a similar plan.

Collins initially announced he would send applications to every registered voter in Harris County, before narrowing it down to voters 65 or older.

Callanen did not respond to questions about whether Bexar County’s plans would be impacted by the pending court battle in Houston.

On Wednesday, the Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction on the plan while the case is decided in lower courts. It’s unclear whether a hearing has been set in the case.

Supporters say we should all be allowed to drop our votes in the mailbox so we can stay away from crowds and protect our health during the pandemic. Those who oppose the idea argue that opens the door to voter fraud. There are also concerns mail-in voting favors one party over the other.

About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.