33K+ cast ballots on first day of early voting in Bexar County

Hours-long waits on first day of early voting; Elections Administrator says there is enough staff and equipment to meet need

Bexar County sees large influx of voters during early voting

SAN ANTONIOUPDATE: The Bexar County Elections Office reported 33,111 voters cast their ballot on the first day of early voting on Tuesday compared to 34,020 who voted on the first day of early voting in 2018.

More than 1,000 ballots were cast at the following locations: Alzafar Shrine Auditorium, AT&T Center, Great Northwest Library, John Igo Library, Northwest Vista College (Mountain Laurel), Wonderland of the Americas@Crossroads.

Click here to see where the ballots were submitted today.

(Original Story)

A huge turnout on the first day of early voting led to Bexar County voters having to wait several hours to cast their ballots at some of the county’s 48 early voting locations.

Lines of voters wrapped around buildings early on in the day at numerous sites, even those who showed up early were not guaranteed a quick ballot when voting began at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Colleen Wentworth, a voter at Tobin Library, said even though she was in line for hours, the experience overall was smooth.

“I got here about 7:20 (this morning) So, I’ve been here about three hours,” Wentworth said.

Donna Harris, who noted that it took her three hours to vote at Las Palmas Library, said her location seemed short-staffed.

“It’s 10 booths, but it’s only two people doing registration. So, that probably had something to do with it,” Harris said.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen relayed through a spokeswoman just before 2:30 p.m. that the Elections Department had enough staff and equipment at its 48 locations to meet the need, and that it had not yet received any complaints from voters about their voting experience.

The Elections Department also posted on Facebook that officials were having to deal with people coming to turn in their mail-in ballots in order to vote in-person. As of 2 p.m., the department said, it had canceled more than 1,000 mail-in ballots.

Just a reminder: the Election Officials are doing a great job. When you experience sites that have booths not in use,...

Posted by Bexar County Elections Department on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

However, not every voter had the time for a two-hour wait. Francisco Ruiz and his son looked at the line wrapped around and back most of the Leon Valley Conference Center before deciding that they wouldn’t be able to vote Tuesday due to their work schedule.

“We expect to be here for probably first thing in the morning and plan our day for that,” Ruiz said.

But not all locations were as heavily-trafficked. Coming out of Cortez Library on the South Side just after noon, Claudia Ayala said it had only been about a 20-minute wait.

“You do have to wait a little bit, but it is moving pretty quickly, and it really is worth it to -- for the wait,” Ayala said.

Voters are able to cast ballots at any of the early voting locations. You can find more information on where and how to vote early here.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.