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Mega voting sites, 24-hour polling place among Bexar County commissioner's proposals ahead of general election

County Commissioners are expected to approve the Election Order on August 17.

SAN ANTONIO — Mega voting centers and mail in ballot applications with prepaid return postage are two of the several ideas Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez has proposed as local leaders brainstorm ways to make voting in the November 3 election safe and efficient.

Rodriguez last week sent a letter to County Judge Nelson Wolff with more than a dozen proposals for consideration ahead of the general election. Among the proposals, Rodriguez suggested increasing voting hours during early voting, including one 24-hour polling site, as well as 10 mail ballot drop-off locations on election day and the creation of mega voting sites.

"Some of these are certainly aspirational," Rodriguez said. "I don't know that we can get them done by November, but I think there are some measures that we're going to try and fast track."

Rodriguez said two feasible ideas include his proposal to mail all eligible voters age 65 and older applications to vote by mail with prepaid return postage. Rodriguez estimates that population consists of around 400,000 people.

Wolff said he's in agreement with Rodriguez's proposals relating to mailing out vote by mail applications to individuals 65 and up, as well as extending polling site hours during early voting. But, he said ideas such as the 24 hour polling site may be "a big stretch."

Wolff said in addition to legal barriers, he anticipates push back from state leaders.

Rodriguez said county leaders weren't anticipating as big a crowd during the runoff elections last month and wants the county to be over prepared this time around.

"The last thing we want to do in a huge general election with so much at stake is have fewer election sites when people show up and it's close because somebody fell ill," Rodriguez said, pointing to issues from last month's runoff elections. 

Wolff during a briefing on Monday reminded the community the Bexar County Elections office is its own independent agency, but said commissioners will make sure elections administrator Jacque Callanen will have the tools to make voting as efficient and safe as possible.

Callanen in a press release Tuesday said the Bexar County Elections office was looking into the Alzafar Shrine and AT&T Center as potential mega-vote centers, which would give voters ample space to cast their ballots. 

Rodriguez said officials expect to have a better idea of what casting a ballot in the general election will look like sometime next week, when commissioners meet and pass the final election order.

The last day to register to vote is October 5. Governor Greg Abbott last month also extended early voting to October 13-30.