More poll watchers expected in 2020 election, Bexar County administrator says

Both parties have ramped up poll watcher training

SAN ANTONIO – While thousands of people are expected to head to the polls Tuesday morning to cast their ballot in the 2020 general election, others will be heading to the polling sites to watch.

Ahead of an unprecedented election amid a pandemic, election administrators across the country are expecting more poll watchers to show up and observe the voting process.

The expectation is the same in Bexar County, Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said in a press conference on Monday morning.

“I know both parties and (political organizations) have been doing a lot of poll watcher training,” Callanen said a day before early voting is set to begin. “We expect to see higher numbers of poll watchers.”

Poll watchers who want to observe the election have to go through a process before showing up to the poll.

In Texas, a poll watcher is appointed by a candidate, a political party, or a proponent or opponent of a ballot measure. They must also be registered to vote in the area covered by the election.

“Poll watchers are there to monitor the integrity of the election,” Callanen said.

The poll watchers can watch the installation of voting machines, the delivery of ballots and the tallying of votes. If they observe a violation, they must report it to the election clerk at the precinct.

The election is expected to have record turnout. In Bexar County, there are more than 1,181,000 registered voters, Callanen said. Another 5,000 applicants still have their registrations pending verification, meaning that number may grow in the coming days.

Voters who head to the polls are not allowed to wear any election gear that supports a particular candidate or ballot measure. They are also not allowed to use their cell phones in the polls.

For voters who kept a list of the candidates they’d like to support on their phone, an election worker will offer them a sample ballot to fill out before casting their official ballot, Callanen said.

The early voting period will run until Oct. 30. Election Day is slated for Nov. 3.

For the latest on the election, visit KSAT’s Vote 2020 page.

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