Bexar County elections official says she and her staff are ‘under attack’

As elections near, Jacque Callanen says threats, bullying, intimidation go on

SAN ANTONIO – To begin Monday’s meeting of the Bexar County Elections Board, Jacque Callanen, its chair and the administrator of the county Elections Office, handed out an online article from the Fredericksburg newspaper that detailed the threats and intimidation Gillespie County elections officials faced.

Anissa Herrera, Gillespie County elections administrator, was quoted saying, “After the 2020 (election), I was threatened, I’ve been stalked, I’ve been called out on social media,” said Herrera. “And it’s just dangerous misinformation.”

The newspaper article said Herrera and her entire staff had resigned.

In an interview with KSAT before her meeting, Callanen said much the same has happened in Bexar County.

“We’re under attack,” Callanen said. “Threats, meanness, ugliness.”

She said, as if that isn’t enough, her office is drowning in frivolous open records requests, so many that Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the county has to hire more people.

Callanen told the board one group now wants to see “every mail ballot, every mail ballot application, every mail ballot envelope from the 2020 election.” She said some also demand the source code for the election equipment.

“Well, that can’t happen,” Callanen said. When we tell them no, it ramps it up again.”

Wolff said the county would make sure the Elections Office has enough security. He also defended Callanen, who became elections administrator in 2005.

He said, ever since Callanen was hired, “It’s been stable, and we’ve upgraded the equipment twice. And I have all the confidence in the world. She runs a very good election.”

Jeff McManus, the new chair of the Republican Party of Bexar County, said as a former poll watcher and precinct judge, he respects Callanen.

“I’m looking forward to this full engagement with Jacque to see how this election is run, and work with her, and help her as best I can to assuage any concerns that the population has regarding the quality and the fairness and the respect that our election process deserves,” McManus said.

He said everyone has a right and a responsibility to question an elected official if they’re behaving inappropriately, but threats and bullying, “that’s a line you don’t want to cross.”

McManus said Callanen’s long record of serving the voters of Bexar County “speaks for itself.”


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About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

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