San Antonio – The Bexar County Elections Department opened its doors to both local political parties Friday “for transparency” ahead of the November midterm elections.
Roughly 16 people, including the Democrat and Republican party chairs, took up the offer for tours around the department, as staff members explained various processes and showed examples of the polling and tabulation equipment.
“With all of the disinformation that’s out there and all this, we thought it was a really good idea to let them see just what you saw,” Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen told media members on a separate tour, “that they could see and ask questions and sort of kick the tires.”
Callanen previously told KSAT she and her department are “under attack” and that her office is being hit with extensive record requests.
“A lot of the requests are coming with difficult language attached to them,” Callanen said Friday, though she declined to go into details.
Most of the non-media members took part in a tour Friday afternoon, including both party chairs.
“One of the reasons that I wanted to be here is Jacque does a phenomenal job in regards to the election process,” Bexar County Democratic Party Chairwoman Monica Ramirez Alcántara said ahead of the tour. “And so I have my team who’s here with me today, and we’re going to run through just to make sure that everything’s set up as we need to as we’re moving towards the election. And so we just kind of want to make sure everything’s running great, and I’m sure it is.”
During the portion of the afternoon tour for which KSAT was present, many of the questions were from Republican participants regarding security.
“I’m pleased that Jacque sees the importance of clarity and openness and transparency,” said Bexar County GOP Chair Jeff McManus. “So in order to assuage concerns and observations that others have made, I think Jacque is taking the right steps, showing that we are interested in having our elections conducted fairly. So everybody’s vote is counted as they cast it.”
When KSAT contacted McManus later by phone to ask if he felt confident about the security of the election, the GOP chair said he thought “there has been a lot of improvement” compared to prior years.
Early voting for the Nov. 8 general election will begin Monday, Oct. 24.