SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of Bexar County voters cast a ballot on Tuesday, but officials say turnout is lower than previous years.
At 4 p.m., Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said that 42,459 people voted on Tuesday. Callanen said she was hoping Tuesday’s turnout would be 65,000 voters or higher.
“I think we’ll be hard pressed to get to that number, I really do,” Callanen said.
Thousands of Texans have already cast their ballot during the two-week early voting period, while thousands more lined up on Tuesday to vote. The county’s elections department will hold an update around 4 p.m. about how they’re handling operations.
During early voting, 47,169 Bexar County Republicans cast a ballot in the primary, while 50,484 Democrats also cast ballots. That margin is much more narrow than the last midterm in 2018 — when 41,184 Republican primary ballots and 51,917 Democratic primary ballots were cast.
The primary election is also the first time election administrators are operating under new rules after lawmakers passed voting restrictions last year.
The changes have caused confusion this year as election officials have reported rejecting thousands of mail ballots because they did not comply with the new law.
In Bexar County, Callanen said that they have sent out roughly 23,000 mail ballots to voters. Roughly 10% of those voters decided to cancel their ballot and vote in person. Of the 16,000 that have been returned, roughly 35% of them have been rejected, Callanen said.
Before the new law took effect, which requires voters to fill out more information on their mail ballots, that rejection rate was around 3%.
Callanen says her staff has been notifying voters about the rejected mail ballots, and that they have until Monday to cure their ballots.
Polls will remain open until 7 p.m.