A man removes his mask as he enters the parking lot after early voting at the CRRC Resource Center in Canyon Lake on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

As of 5 p.m. Friday, Comal County led all of Texas in early turnout for the Nov. 3 election.

Unofficial totals by elections officials and the Texas Secretary of State’s website indicated 57,410 of 116,019 Comal voters had cast in-person or mailed ballots for a turnout of 49.48%.

Among counties with 100,000 voters or more, Friday’s SOS tally Thursday indicated Collin County, north of Dallas, stood at 48.08% and Williamson County, north of Austin, totaled 47.64%.

“I can only say Comal County voters do get out to vote,” said Elections Administrator Cynthia Jaqua, adding the county was steaming toward shattering 2016 records for voter turnout and percentage. 

Through 10 days of early voting, Comal County cast 51,362 in-person votes and another 6,048 received through the mail. Guadalupe County, with 111,837 voters, tallied 46,631 total votes — 40,706 in person and 5,925 absentee — for a 41.69% turnout. Both uncanvassed county totals slightly differ from those on the SOS’s elections webpage.

Friday was the final day voters could submit Applications for Ballot by Mail (ABBMs) with elections officials, which had to be received by end of business that day. Jaqua said county has to date received 10,758 ABBM applications that led to 6,043 completed ballots. 

“The completed ballots will be included in our early voting totals reported on election night,” Jaqua said, estimating she had received about 30 ABBMs that will be processed Saturday. 

“That’s all we received today; and those and whatever we receive (until 7 p.m. Friday) will be processed Saturday, no later than Monday,” Jaqua said.

Those who receive ABBMs have four business days to submit backup documents; the county will mail ballots to qualifying applicants “as soon as we can,” but Jaqua warns emailed applications without hard copy documentation within four days could be disqualified.

Jaqua said polling has gone well throughout the seven early voting locations, with the Goodwin Annex (9,241 votes), main Elections Office (9,055) and Mammen Family Public Library in Bulverde (7,646) the top three sites.

There haven’t been any problems reported with COVID-19 protocols or sanitation, though a few voters reported hitting the wrong button and casting ballots in error.

Jaqua said the problem comes when styluses, used to select candidates on the electronic machines, wander to another portion of the same page — with more than a few selecting a different candidate.

“We ask voters to look over their ballots carefully,” Jaqua said. “And if you have any questions, please contact any of the elections judges at the polling locations.”

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