Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
As of 8.30 p.m., Bexar County Elections Department reported that 128,030 people had cast ballots on Tuesday, Election Day, and that voters were still in line at some polling locations. Turnout exceeded expectations and reflected growing lines throughout San Antonio, as more people got off work and go vote.
Those lines stood in contrast to Tuesday’s morning hours when Rivard Report reporters fanned out across San Antonio to visit different polling sites, mostly finding places with little to no wait.
At Mission Library on the South Side, seven people waited to vote around 8 a.m., and at Windcrest Takas Park in Northeast San Antonio three stood in line. Memorial Branch Library in West San Antonio was quiet, and in the Southwest, South Park Mall, South San Antonio ISD, and Shepherd Middle School all had no lines.
Even the Brookhollow Library in North San Antonio – typically one of the top poll locations in terms of Election Day attendance, according to Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen – was slow early on.
Callanen said Monday she expected a lull during the day due to people’s work schedules. In past years, she has seen a pattern of people voting early in the morning, the numbers dropping off during the day, and then picking back up in the evening, she said.
“History tells us we’ll have lines when people get off of work,” Callanen said. “And those are the very last minute people. Human nature tells us, ‘Let’s wait until the last minute.’”
During early voting, more than 380,000 people cast ballots.
Callanen said some people may be surprised to discover the polling location they are used to visiting on Election Day has changed. The Elections Department usually sets up around 280 polling sites on Election Day, she explained, but has upped that number to 302 due to the increase of registered voters in Bexar County. According to the Texas Election Code, each precinct must have one polling location, and precincts may not exceed 5,000 registered voters.
“Most of our polling locations will be identical to where voters are used to going,” Callanen said. “However … we do have rules we must follow.”
The clouds also lifted from a previously gray sky, giving Bexar County voters a sunny day in which to wait in line. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., officials said they were on track to hit the 125,000 voters they expected Tuesday.