Those looking to cast their ballot in Bexar County will no longer be tied to their local community center, church or school. County commissioners took advantage of a 2009 state law that allows the use of countywide voting centers. The centers, also known as super precincts, are meant to increase participation, in a state with voter turnout among the lowest in the nation.
Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez says the main advantage is convenience.
“We needed to look at ways of making voting more accessible, make it more transparent, and bring it out into the community,” Rodriguez says.
Rodriguez says those who do not vote early are often unsure where to vote.
“We know, in Bexar County, about 60% of our population takes advantage of early vote but there are still some folks who, for whatever reason, are out of town or are just traditionalists. They like to pageantry of going and voting on election day.”
First tested in 2006 in Lubbock County, countywide voting has been used during early voting periods. Now, the convenience is being extended to general elections as early as November 2019 in Bexar County.
Bexar County is following in the footsteps of 60 others, including Harris and Travis County, to opt for countywide voting. The move is in conjunction with an $11 million expenditure to upgrade voting machines.
Rodriguez says failed efforts to introduce online registration during his six years in the Texas legislature is another reason he backed the move in Bexar County.
Written by Geronimo Perez.