Voter registration hits record high ahead of November election

Voter registration hits record high

SAN ANTONIO -- Voter registration in Bexar County and in Texas hit a record high ahead of what has already been an unusual election. Now the Bexar County Elections office is putting out a call for volunteers and early voters to ease congestion on Election Day.

Bexar County has 1,037,883 registered voters according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office. That’s roughly 120,000 more people than in 2012, or the equivalent of the entire city of Odessa.

Many of those registrations came in the form of pallets of mail, something 23-year-old intern Armando Salazar has been helping to sort.

 “It’s a madhouse at times,” Salazar said. “On the inside, there’s a lot building up to it... as I have learned.”

In fact, the high rate of registered voters is being seen across the state. Right now, Texas has 15,015,700 registered voters, 78 percent of the voting age population.

“This could be record breaking for us,” said Jacque Callanen, the Bexar County elections administrator. “The interest doesn’t get any higher than in a presidential election.”

That’s going to be a daunting number of voters on Election Day, especially considering the long lines seen during the recent primaries in March. The department has countered by adding 23 new polling locations for Election Day and increasing the amount of early voting sites from 32 to 43.

Despite those increased resources, Salazar said that he expects a hectic experience.

“It’s going to be something of a war-room setting,” Salazar noted.

The best bet, says Callanen, is to take advantage of early voting, which goes from October 24 to November 4. Better yet, she is urging people to volunteer and help leading up to the election. The more volunteers they have, she says, the faster they can process people.

As Salazar says, civic duty goes far beyond just casting a ballot.

“I value the democratic process so much,” Salazar said. “I think it’s something people take for granted.”

Those who wish to learn more about volunteering can visit the Bexar County Elections website here.

(© 2016 KENS)


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