Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Bexar County will have a joint primary election next March, Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen confirmed Friday.
At the last county commissioners meeting, Bexar County Republican chair Cynthia Brehm refused to sign a resolution that would have given the elections department authority to run both the Democratic and Republican primary elections on election day. She also sent a list of requests, including discontinuing voting center use, to Callanen earlier this week, the elections administrator said.
Those requests have been tabled for now and will be discussed in contract negotiations over how to handle the primary election, Callanen said.
“The first step is done,” Callanen said.
Bexar County Democratic Party chair Monica Alcantara signed the joint primary election agreement earlier in December.
Though Callanen did not disclose the full list of requests from Brehm, she said the most difficult one to meet would be not using the vote center model. Bexar County used the model for the first time in November, and voters were able to cast ballots at any poll location they chose on election day for the first time.
Without a joint primary election resolution, the Republican party would have had to find their own voting equipment and hire their own election officials, Callanen said.
“We don’t have enough equipment to have both parties use the new voting equipment,” Callanen said.
Brehm did not return requests for comment on Friday.
Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr. (Pct. 4) said he was able to sit down with Brehm and talk about a few of her concerns: that election monitors were able to have the full access that state law provided and that tabulators were properly accounted for so that votes would be accurately tallied.
Calvert said he suggested that Brehm consult legal counsel for her concerns over election monitor access and vote count concerns. She never brought up the issue of not using vote centers, Calvert said.
“It’s an easy thing to work out,” Calvert said. “Even though we come from different political parties, we have to ensure the vote is trusted by everybody and transparency and integrity are maintained. Everyone wants the vote to be tabulated the right way and the process to be carried out in the right way.”
Bexar County commissioners are scheduled to approve the joint primary election on Tuesday.