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New Bexar Commissioner Justin Rodriguez Floats Plan to Improve Voting Procedures and Turnout

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JADE ESTEBAN ESTRADA
  • Jade Esteban Estrada
Bexar County may be upgrading its voting equipment and adding flexibility in polling places, but according to new County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez there's more work to do.

Rodriguez, a former Democratic member of the Texas House, is asking the Bexar Commissioner's Court to form an advisory committee to identify improvements to the county's voting procedures, step up voter education and drive higher turnout. He hopes the group — made up of residents and members of nonprofits and other stakeholders — can make progress on that work ahead of the November 2020 presidential election.

"It doesn't seem like we're getting much help from state leaders on how to best administer elections or get people out to vote," said Rodriguez, who worked with voter-turnout group MOVE Texas to formulate his plan. "I think the best solution for us is to act locally."

To point, GOP lawmakers championed several bills during the Texas' last legislative session that would make voting more difficult, including one to make it a state jail felony to incorrectly fill out a voter application.

Rodriguez's plan also comes amid a time of election uncertainty.

This summer, Texas' top elections official resigned after a botched voter purge that incorrectly targeted some recently naturalized citizens. What's more, following concerns about Russian election interference, new polls show Americans worry their votes won't be correctly counted.

Rodriguez said he's confident he has the votes on County Commissioner's court to support his measure and start assembling the committee in coming weeks.

"My sense is that people [on the Commissioner's Court] feel this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it," said Rodriguez, who was appointed in January after the death of longtime commissioner Paul Elizondo.

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