Bexar Co. early vote totals up, voter apathy still a problem

Local election officials say, despite 2017's increase, voter turnout still remains low in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO - Early voting for May local elections has officially come to an end, and this year Bexar County will break a record for early voting. However, when you look at the big picture of voter turnout, San Antonio continues to have a poor showing.

By the last day of early voting, there were more than 60,000 votes. That puts us on pace to surpass 100,000 total votes when polls close on Election Day May 6. Never before has the area surpassed 100,000 for a local election. However, even if that happens, local officials said it’s still a poor turnout for a city of more than 1.4 million people.

Jacque Callanen is the Bexar County elections administrator and oversees elections. She said many people just don’t realize their daily lives are impacted more by local elections versus presidential elections, which see a higher voter turnout.

“[People say], 'It’s Fiesta. It’s graduation time. It’s Mother’s Day, but it’s really no excuse,” said Callanen.

Eyewitness News ran into Amjed Jabari outside an early voting location. He allowed us to time him to see how fast and easy it would’ve been to vote early. It took him just under 12 minutes to cast his ballot. He said it was the best 12 minutes of his day.

At Brackenridge Park, Eyewitness News came across Noel Wheeler and her husband. Wheeler said she was still on the fence about voting.

Across the street, San Antonian John Ramos said he knows he will not be voting.

“I don’t really understand politics, and I don’t really feel my vote will go toward anything I really care about,” said Ramos.

There’s plenty to care about.

For example, you may or may not think it’s worth spending $2 million to add an extra level to the parking garage used by people at Brackenridge Park and the Witte Museum. It’s a question voters will have to answer since it’s part of the city’s largest bond program in history.

San Antonio City Council members make a lot of big decisions. For example, those decisions include choosing to spend money on body cameras for police officer, or passing a city ordinance banning texting and driving.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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