Texas early voting statistics are already being reported for October 22, 2018, showing a huge spike in voter turnout compared to the first day of early voting in the 2014 midterm elections, and numbers that rival 2016 in some regions. One of the key elections drawing voters in the Ted Cruz vs. Beto O’Rourke Senate race, which has attracted national attention.
Early voting is usually popular among Texans. In 2016, 73.5 percent of votes were cast early, and in 2014 54.1 percent of votes were cast early. But the overall percentage of people who vote is still low. In the last four midterms, only 33.6 percent to 38 percent of registered voters actually voted in Texas.
Here are some of the numbers being reported from Texas counties, compared to the numbers in 2016 and 2014.
In Bexar County, 24,502 people had voted in-person as of 4 p.m. Central, compared to 13,436 on the first day of early voting in 2014, the San Antonio Express News reported. And that was just the report two hours before the polls closed.
In the 2016 election year, 35,431 voted early, in-person, on the first day in Bexar County. This means that yesterday, Bexar County was 11,000 behind two hours before the polls closed. It had time to get much closer to 2016’s numbers, and had already surpassed 2014 before closing.
But Bexar County wasn’t free of issues. The county experienced long lines and waits due to printing issues at some locations, where poll workers couldn’t print a voter’s label after verifying their registration, and had hand-write the information. But no issues were reported with voting machines or laptops. Poll workers also only had one laptop to check registrations, which slowed things down even more.
In Collin County, 23,098 residents voted early by 2:30 p.m. on Monday compared to 10,312 in 2014, Dallas News reported. In 2016 in Collin County, 31,283 voted early in-person (36,719 total including mail-in.) Collin County had plenty of time to get closer to the 2016 presidential race numbers, and had already surpassed 2014.
In Dallas County, in-person and mail-in votes numbered 57,080 compared to 58,779 in 2016, the Dallas Morning News reported. This is significantly more than the 13,036 early votes cast in 2014 and impressively close to the presidential election numbers.
In Denton County, 18,988 residents had voted by 3:45 p.m. on Monday compared to 9,582 in 2014, Dallas News reported. Meanwhile, in 2016, that number was 21,994 for mail-in and in-person combined, so it’s likely Denton County got close to that number again by the time the polls closed the first day. Even before the polls closed, Denton County had shattered 2014 numbers.
In El Paso County, 17,131 votes were cast by 7 p.m. Monday — a record number even compared to the 2016 presidential election, the Texas Tribune reported. The number of in-person votes in 2016 on the first day was 15,125 (and 19,458 for in-person and mail-in.)
In Harris County, more than 63,188 in-person votes were cast for the first day. In 2014, that number was 20,215, the Houston Chronicle reported. In 2016, in-person votes counted for 67,471 total (not including mail-in votes.) The numbers shattered 2014 and approached 2016.
It was a big day in Houston yesterday, which was home to multiple visits from O’Rourke and a big rally by Cruz and President Donald Trump. At one location, nearly 2,000 people camped outside an early voting location, and the Houston Chronicle compared them to a Black Friday shopping crowd.
In Midland County, 3,456 votes were cast by 4 p.m. compared to 756 in 2014 out of a total of 84,945 voters, Texas Tribune reported.
In Nueces County, a total of 7,337 early votes were cast on October 22 in-person, for a total of 8,021 when including mail-in voting. In 2016, this number was 6,088 in-person on the first day and 10,231 including mail-in votes. The in-person votes in Nueces County far surpassed the number for 2016.
In Tarrant County, 39,672 had voted on Monday as of 5:30 p.m. compared to 29,391 in 2014 on the first day of early voting, Dallas News reported. That number was 43,149 in-person voters in 2016 (65,156 including mail-in.) So Tarrant County was a bit behind 2016, but n ot by much, and it shattered the 2014 turnout.
In Travis County, in-person and mail-in votes were 47,405, compared to only 17,181 for the first early-voting day in 2014. In 2016 — a presidential election year — the number was 47,109. It’s rare for a midterm to attract the same kind of attention in early voting as a presidential election year.
One of the races gaining the most national attention in Texas is between Republican Ted Cruz, the incumbent Senator, and Rep. Beto O’Rourke. This race is likely a source of the big turnout seen on the first day of early voting.
O’Rourke has raised $38 million in the third quarter, more than any Senate candidate in history. O’Rourke banned donations from corporate PACs, a move that Cruz did not duplicate. But in many polls, Cruz has still had the edge by about five to nine points.
Early voting in Texas for the November 6 general election runs Monday, October 22 through Friday, November 2. Any registered voter is eligible to vote early in person at any early voting location in your county.