Strong voter turnout in Comal County doesn’t lack problems

More than 13,000 ballots submitted, including by mail, partway through 3rd day of early voting

Comal County voters needed to pack their patience as they waited in line to vote.

New Braunfels – Long early voting lines aren’t just part of the big cities this election.

Speaking with KSAT early Thursday afternoon, Comal County Clerk Bobbie Koepp said more than 13,000 Comal County voters had already cast ballots, including by mail. While she could not say for sure if it was a record turnout, Koepp said “I have never seen the lines like this. Let’s put it like that."

Even on the third day of early voting, the lines extended out of the Comal County Elections Center parking lot and the Comal County offices - the two locations KSAT visited out of the seven spread throughout the county.

But those eager to cast their ballots weren’t deterred - especially focused on the presidential race.

“Because of what’s going on with both of them right now, I need him to win,” said Robert Jamison, who came to cast a ballot for President Donald Trump in his first ever time voting.

Despite the enthusiasm, voting hasn’t been all smooth sailing in the county. Koepp said technical difficulties with the voting machines at the Community Resource and Recreation Center in Canyon Lake put that site out of commission for about an hour-and-a-half on Thursday.

Then there is the sometimes confusing issue of mail-in ballots, which can also be hand-delivered.

Sally Bermea arrived at the elections office, unsure of how exactly to turn in her ballot in-person.

“Which I’d rather do that than mail it in, since there is an issue with mailing in your ballots, and I want to make sure they get in the right hands,” Bermea said.

The hand delivery of the mail-in ballots in Comal County, though, can only be done at the elections office and only after waiting in line with the rest of the voters. The process also requires the voter to show ID and sign a form stating they’ve returned it.

There have been plenty of mail-in ballots sent out to voters already - more than 8,300 so far, Koepp said - but there are still more that need to go out.

“We’re at the end of the alphabet. So those are still to go out," Koepp said. “And I think as of yesterday, we were finished with the letter T and we were working U through Z.”

Then there is the question of receiving the ballot. Douglass Bowie Duncan, a Comal County voter attending law school in Austin, told KSAT he had been planning to vote by mail, but had not received his ballot yet.

“They told me that it should have been sent out with the first group because I voted in that July election,” Duncan said.

Duncan said he might check with the post office to see if his ballot could be located. Should he not ultimately receive it, he would be still be able to cast a provisional ballot - though that would require him to come in-person.

“It is a shame, but I may not vote,” Duncan said.

RELATED: These were the busiest, slowest polling locations in Bexar County on the second day of early voting

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.