Texas Organizing Project sues Bexar County for not proposing enough polling locations

‘Fewest locations we’ve ever had for a general election,’ Texas Civil Rights Project official says

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Organizing Project is challenging Bexar County in court for not proposing enough polling locations ahead of Election Day.

The lawsuit states Bexar County is proposing the fewest number of polling locations the county has ever had for a general election.

A judge agreed there was a need for more polling locations in a similar lawsuit filed against the county in 2020.

The Texas Civil Rights Project represents the progressive nonprofit Texas Organizing Project in the lawsuit against Bexar County.

Joaquin Gonzales, with Texas Civil Rights Project, said there are not enough places where voters can cast a ballot.

“We realized that, actually, the county had been operating fewer polling places than it was supposed to be operating. But in 2020 was the first time it was sued over,” Gonzales said.

Bexar County uses a countywide polling program, meaning state law requires the number of polling locations to be half the number of precincts.

There are 776 precincts in the county, so there should be a minimum of 388 polling locations. The elections office is proposing 267.

“Which would also be the fewest locations we’ve ever had for a general election,” Gonzales said.

KSAT reached out to Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen about the decision. She declined to comment.

However, when commissioners discussed voting locations, Callanen said on Sept. 7 that she closed several polling locations with low voter turnout.

“We’d open a site, and there were 25 people that voted all day. Can you imagine less than two people an hour? That’s not efficient,” Callanen said.

Callanen spoke about the difficulty of staffing, but the Texas Organizing Project argues having fewer polling locations violates the law.

“The Elections Department just wants to focus on cutting costs and doing what’s going to be easiest and sort of the least amount of work, but not what’s going to give the most access to voters,” Gonzales said.

Attorneys hope the county will agree to add more polling places after losing a similar lawsuit in 2020.

Otherwise, there will be a hearing next week for immediate relief to establish new locations ahead of Election Day on Nov. 8.

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