Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Tuesday marks the end of the voter registration period for the Nov. 6 midterm election. As of Monday morning, nearly 1.1 million Bexar County residents have registered to vote.
Jacque Callanen, Bexar County elections administrator, said the number is high but not as high as she had hoped. She pointed to 2014, when 43,000 people registered between the March primaries and the November midterm election. In 2016, 72,000 people registered between March and November in a presidential election year. But this year, only 18,000 people have registered in Bexar County since the primaries.
“It’s not falling into place,” Callanen said. “We’re really happy people are coming in to register, but when you compare it, the numbers aren’t there. Not yet.”
Still, Callanen is expecting a rush Monday and Tuesday at the Bexar County Elections Department at 1103 S. Frio St.
“We’ve been open all weekend, and we’re open until 7 tonight,” she said. “We’ve done that for the last six [election] cycles. It’s always the same, that’s human nature – let’s wait until the last minute and go to register. But we’re here to facilitate that.”
High voter registration numbers do not necessarily translate into high voter turnout, Callanen said. In the 2014 election, Bexar County saw just 36.91 percent of registered voters actually vote. In 2016, the number rose to 57.07 percent. But in March’s primaries, only 14.57 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls, and Callanen said she can’t make a guess about what November’s turnout will be.
“We broke double digits [in the primaries],” she said. “We were happy about that. But I don’t have a feel yet.”
Either way, registration numbers will increase, Callanen promised.
“These numbers are going to go up,” she said. “But right now, when people are talking about high registration, we still have to see where it is when we’re finished.”
Voter registration ends Tuesday. The elections department is open until 7 p.m. Monday, and will be open Tuesday from 8 a.m to 7 p.m. You can also register at libraries, or through a volunteer deputy registrar. Find more information about voter registration and voting here.