SAN ANTONIO – It’s safe to say nobody has ever seen a year like 2020 in our lifetime, but could the trend of unprecedented happenings continue with the November election?
Some experts say hold onto your hats because this year’s November election could set some records and see some delays.
Election guru Jeff Blaylock, publisher of Texas Election Source, a non-partisan subscription-based publication based in Austin, predicts that “there will be an awful lot we don’t know when we got to bed on Election Day.”
Blaylock, who has crunched voting data in Texas for more than a decade, thinks that there will be delays in larger counties due to last-minute voters, in part because of the expected record level of turnout.
He also predicts a record number of absentee ballots will be cast and thinks that could lead to delays, not only because they will need to be counted, but because there could be litigation over uncounted or rejected absentee ballots. Blaylock said in a written statement to KSAT that there could be court-ordered extensions of deadlines for postmarking or receiving them that could delay the final vote counts by a week or more.
“If any of this post-Election Day counting changes outcomes, especially if a margin was bigger than a handful of votes, expect more litigation and more sowing of doubt about the election’s legitimacy,” Blaylock said.
Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen agrees that there will be a record number of absentee ballots here but she doesn’t think that many will be rejected.
Callanen also told KSAT that she doesn’t expect long lines on Election Day that would cause delays in results in Bexar County.
“We will have a manageable election day based on history,” Callanen said. “Bexar County voters love early voting.”
In the last presidential election in 2016, more than 73% of Bexar County voters cast their ballots during the early election period. And this year, Gov. Greg Abbott extended the early voting period by nearly a week due to the pandemic, from Oct. 13 - Oct. 30.
In a recent Bexar Facts-KSAT-San Antonio Report poll 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.
The poll showed a much higher level of interest in absentee ballots this year, with 17% of likely voters here saying they plan to vote by mail. In recent elections, Bexar County typically has about 7% of the overall vote coming from absentee ballots.
But even if there are no delays in Bexar County, that doesn’t mean everything will run smoothly in other cities across the state and country.
Once again, we are at the mercy of 2020.