As the statewide spat over mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 elections continues, Comal County elections officials say they’re received nearly 8,000 applications — including many duplicate requests.
“I’m looking at a stack (received) today,” Elections Administrator Cynthia Jaqua on Monday. “What people are doing is receiving ballot by mail applications from all of these organizations and political parties. As they get them, they’re signing them and sending them in — after they have already sent one in.
“We’ve received six or seven from some (voters),” she added. “That does not mean they’ll be voting six or seven times. What we’re doing is stapling them together and putting them in folders as we receive them from each voter.
“Those who have sent in requests for ballots do not have to send in others — we’ve already received them.”
State law restricts absentee balloting to voters 65 years of age or older, have a disability, or will be outside the county on Election Day.
The deadline to apply to vote for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5; the last day applications will be accepted for ballot by mail is Friday, Oct. 23.
Two weeks ago Comal County commissioners approved seven early voting and 24 countywide polling sites for the Nov. 3 general election. Officials have been preparing for a large turnout among the estimated 110,500 registered voters — especially absentee ballots, where total requests have jumped since totaling 5,500 three weeks ago.
Jaqua expects absentee ballots will be mailed before the end of September. In November 2016, county voters mailed in 5,016 ballots and in 2018 mailed 5,499 votes.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Saturday that he’s appealing a judge’s decision to allow the Harris County clerk to send mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters in the county — which Jaqua said won’t be happening in Comal County.
“We’re going strictly by (the rules) set by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General and following state law,” Jaqua said.
Paxton asked the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston to prevent Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins from sending applications to all 2.4 million Houston-area voters. A state judge ruled Friday that the county can proceed with its plan, which Paxton says violates the Texas Constitution and election laws.
Jaqua said her office is preparing to send out military and overseas ballots by Saturday’s deadline. The League of Women Voters of the Comal Area and both parties will be observing National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Early voting begins Tuesday, Oct. 13 and concludes Friday, Oct. 30. For election information, including sample ballots, precinct maps and polling locations for early voting and election days, visit www.votecomal.com and www.co.guadalupe.tx.us/elections.