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Nearly 80% of Bexar County voters plan to vote early or by mail in November, poll finds

Only 21% of voters say they plan to wait until Nov. 3 to vote

In this Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 photo, voters wait in line at an early polling site in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 photo, voters wait in line at an early polling site in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This story is part of a series reporting on the latest Bexar Facts poll. Find more coverage on our Bexar Facts page.

Most voters in Bexar County plan to take advantage of the early voting period, according to a new Bexar Facts-KSAT-San Antonio Report poll released Tuesday.

In the survey of more than 600 registered Bexar County voters, 59% said they plan to vote in-person before the day of the election. Only 21% of registered voters said they will vote in person on the day of the election, while 17% said they plan to vote by mail.

The high percentage of early voters would follow the trend for recent Bexar County elections — in 2016, nearly 3 out of 4 ballots cast here were during early voting. The early voting period this year has been extended amid the pandemic and runs from Oct. 13 - Oct. 30.

But, if the poll is correct, the percentage of mail-in voters would be much higher than in past elections. For example, in 2016 only 6.4% of votes were cast by mail in Bexar County. Now, according to the poll, 17% of likely voters say they plan to vote by mail.

How voters say they plan to cast their ballots in Bexar County.
How voters say they plan to cast their ballots in Bexar County. (Bexar Facts)

The issue of mail-in voting has ping-ponged around the courts this year as Democrats pushed for fewer restrictions on mail balloting in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the poll, a much higher percentage of Democrats (29%) plan to vote by mail than Republicans (7%) and a higher percentage of women (20%) than men (14%) plan to vote that way. More than a third of respondents age 65 or older said they would vote by mail -- the highest percentage of any age bracket.

In Texas, mail-in ballots are generally restricted to voters who are 65 or older, disabled or who will be outside the county on Election Day.

While the rules for absentee voting in Texas were not changed, in July, Gov. Abbott issued a proclamation allowing voters to deliver a marked mail ballot in person to the early voting clerk’s office prior to and including on Election Day.

In typical years, the hand-delivery of mail ballots is only allowed on Election Day. In Bexar County, those hand-delivered ballots must go to the elections office at 1103 S. Frio St., Suite 200. They will not be accepted at polling places and voters will need to present a valid ID.

How different groups of voters say they plan to cast their ballots in Bexar County.
How different groups of voters say they plan to cast their ballots in Bexar County. (Bexar Facts)

The same proclamation also extended the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election. Instead of the typical 12 days of early voting, Texans will now have nearly a week longer to cast their ballots early.

Bexar County residents are registering to vote in record numbers, according to Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen.

“We’re 113,000 people ahead of where we were in 2016,” Callanen said last week. “That’s like the population of Comal County.”

The voter registration deadline is Oct. 5. Find out how to register to vote in Texas here.

The poll was conducted among registered Bexar County voters from Sept. 17-21 by phone and online in English (98%) and Spanish (2%) and has a 4% margin of error.

Here’s a look at how Bexar County voters cast their ballots in recent elections:

Election dateTotal Ballots
Cast in
Bexar County
Election Day
in-person voters
PercentageAbsentee ballotsPercentageEarly in-person votersPercentage
Nov. 6, 2018551,896131,70523.9%39,7897.2%380,40268.9%
Nov. 8, 2016598,691122,69220.5%38,2906.4%437,70973.1%

KSAT will publish more results from the Bexar Facts-KSAT-San Antonio Report poll — from local propositions and approval ratings to the biggest issues facing San Antonio and evolving public opinion on the coronavirus pandemic and policing — in the coming days in our Bexar Facts section.

See the full poll and find more information about it on the Bexar Facts website. There, you can also take the survey for yourself (those results will be recorded but not reflected in the scientific results.)

Stay up to date with the latest election news and resources on our Vote 2020 page.

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