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Election ’02 Flash Another Late County


With early voting wrapping up the Friday before the election, counties strive to have their early ballots ready for counting on the morning of the election so that those results can be released within the first half hour after the polls close. But in Bexar County (San Antonio), only one-fourth of the 127,000 early ballots in Bexar County (San Antonio) had been verified as ready to be counted as of 2 p.m.

Bexar County had been the subject of a federal lawsuit over its requirement that straight-party voters mark both pages of a two-page ballot in order to cast a straight-party vote. The ballot was corrected for today, and the Justice Department has retroactively precleared the two-page ballot, but it’s still taking them quite a bit of time to verify those early ballots.

Bexar County and Tarrant County are the third and fourth largest counties in terms of voter registration and are nearly identical in terms of early voting turnout. Taken together, you’re now looking at 16% of the ballots in Texas that will be reporting very, very late. And because Bexar is more of a swing county than Tarrant and with a majority Hispanic population, the odds of a late call in the Texas Senate race have increased dramatically.


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