A total of 68,979 Bexar County voters cast ballots at 43 polling sites during early voting for the General and Bond Election.
By 2 p.m. on Tuesday, the early voting total had already surpassed the number of in-person early votes in 2015, according to the Bexar County Election Department’s Facebook page.
Polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 and voters must cast their ballots in their assigned precincts. To search for a polling location by address, click here.
In the 2015 municipal elections, 7.33% of registered voters, or 60,230 people, showed up to vote early. This year’s numbers mark a 6.7% early voter participation and a 14.5% increase from the previous local election.
There are 751,575 registered voters in San Antonio and 1,026,679 in Bexar County, according to Bexar County Election Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen.
The 2015 municipal election had a 11.89% voter turnout. According to a Portland State University report, voter turnout in local elections is notoriously low across the nation: Fewer than 15% of the country’s largest cities’ eligible voters show up to cast their ballots in local elections. In the 2015 municipal election, the median voter age was 63; San Antonio’s median population age is 42.8.
Activity at polling sites ran smoothly across the city, Callanen said. During early voting for the November 2016 presidential election, the prohibition of cell phones caused stirs in several polling locations, as did confusion over identification requirements. After a July 2016 federal court ruling overturned Texas’ voter ID laws, the election department’s website as well as signage on the first day of early voting failed to reflect the new laws.
Callanen said issues regarding cell phones or identification did not surface during early voting this year.
“Of course people who hadn’t registered to vote showed up, but that happens during every election,” she said. “Voters have to do their part, too.”
A list of acceptable forms of IDs and general procedures for voting can be found here.
In terms of the geographic distribution of votes, Callanen said the turnout matched the “standard voting pattern of Bexar County.” The polling site at Brook Hollow Library recorded the most votes with 4,951.
Other possible explanations for the higher voter turnout include a population increase and an uptick in eligible and registered voters. Furthermore, the number of candidates on this year’s ballot inspires the “friends and family plan,” Callanen told the San Antonio Express-News on the first day of early voting.
Indeed, this election has yielded an unprecedented number of candidates: San Antonio voters will choose among 14 candidates for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Ivy Taylor didn’t even make it onto the first page of the ballot, so those voting for her had skip to the next screen on electronic voting machines to find her name.
Among some of the highly contested City Council races, Districts 9 and 10 top the list with 10 candidates each. The smallest field among the Council races is in District 4, with incumbent Councilman Rey Saldaña facing only two opponents.
Some San Antonians also will select school board members. Voters also will decide whether to approve six different propositions constituting San Antonio’s record $850 million bond that includes 180 infrastructure, parks, and facility improvements across the city. The Alamo Colleges’ $450 million bond, which would provide funding to build and renovate new facilities, also is included on the ballot.