SAN ANTONIO – As key battleground states continue to tally up mail-in ballots, the results are generally favoring Joe Biden —something Bexar County saw as well in its results.
While a record number Bexar County voters cast absentee ballots -- 79,724 as of midday on Nov. 4 -- they were not spread out evenly between supporters of President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Biden, who received 58% of the overall vote in Bexar County, won a much larger percentage of the absentee ballot alone — 72%.
Demonte Alexander, the director of public affairs at Bexar Facts, says a big turnout was a sure thing for the election. However, Alexander, who has a background with Democratic campaigns, thinks it was the COVID-19 pandemic that drove the demand for mail-in ballots.
“People are afraid. I mean, a lot of people are immunocompromised. I mean, you’re waiting in line for hours at a time, and sometimes you’re outside six feet apart. But, you know, the wind is blowing. Somebody could cough. So there’s a lot of risk," Alexander said.
As for why there was such a sharp divide on who elected to cast mail-in ballots, Alexander expects it has to do with Democrats being more concerned about the pandemic, and therefore more likely to go for a mail-in ballot if they can.
“I can’t say this definitely, but, you know, in terms of people who go out to the polls, if you’re, like, not taking the virus seriously, you think the virus is a hoax or you just feel like, you know, it’s over, then you’re more likely going to go vote in person, I imagine,” Alexander said.
The KSAT-San Antonio Report-Bexar Facts September 2020 poll found that 69% of Republican respondents said they believed “the worst is over” when it comes to the pandemic, compared to just 18% of Democrats.
There’s also distrust of mail voting itself. The same September poll found Republican respondents were more likely than Democrats to agree voting by mail is “risky" or “increases voter fraud." They were less likely to agree it was “secure" or “safe."
While Trump has spoken negatively about voting by mail, Republican consultant Tom Marks, who ran the election campaign for Bexar County Commissioner-elect Trish DeBerry, thinks some Republican voters may also have had their own negative experiences or views with the U.S. Postal Service.
“It’s not just the president saying ‘This is unsafe. Don’t do it.’ It’s -- I think they had to have some sort of experience in order to, you know, to have that that compounding effect to it,” Marks said.
Whether they voted by mail or in-person, voters turned out for a historically large election, and it’s not over yet.