Early voting results in Texas broke records for mid-term elections, and the turnout for election day is also predicted to be significant. Early voting numbers in Texas exceeded the entire voting turnout for the 2014 midterm elections. Officials are predicting that the turnout for the election in general is going to rival the 2016 presidential election turnout, which is rare for a midterm election. The Ted Cruz vs. Beto O’Rourke election has no doubt contributed to this turnout. The heated campaign has even attracted national attention. Here are the details we have so far regarding voting turnout in Texas for this election and today.
In Texas’ 30 largest counties, nearly 4.9 million people voted during the early voting period. This exceeded the number of votes cast in the state for the entire midterm election in 2014. In 2014, 4.7 million people vote total in the midterm election. So early voting in Texas shattered the entire 2014 turnout numbers, indicating that the overall election turnout is going to continue to break records.
Some of the early voting turnout means that turnout on election day is lighter in Texas. This also means that if you haven’t voted yet, you may not encounter lines that are too long when you go to the polls in some areas. Here are details about voting turnout so far on November 6, 2018 in specific Texas counties, as compared to early voting turnout this year and in other years:
Bexar County: In Bexar County, early voting numbers surpassed 2014 midterm totals. Bexar County residents cast 42,124 votes, which was just shy of the 46,651 cast in the 2016 presidential election. But it far surpassed the 17,938 votes cast in the 2014 mid-terms.
Today, voting has slowed down a bit. Turnout is steady but lighter.
Earlier today, some areas didn’t have any lines:
Elections Administrator Jacque Callanan told WOAI that about 125,000 people were expected to vote today, compared to 400,000 during the early voting period.
Collin County: During the early voting period, as many early votes were cast in 2018 as in 2016, the Houston Chronicle reported. This kind of turnout is unusual for a mid-term election.
Today, voters are continuing to turn out in Collin County, but specific numbers haven’t yet been released. You can check the wait times in Collin County here.
Dallas County: 85,000 more people voted early this year than voted total in the last midterm in 2014, not including the 36,000 mail-in ballots. A total of 529,112 people voted early. The age breakdown weighed heavily for ages 50 and above.
So far today, it appears that turnout is high again in Dallas County, although official numbers aren’t yet known.
Denton County: Denton County has a huge surge in early voting turnout. On the last day of early voting, 228,650 votes had been cast.
Numbers aren’t out yet for Denton County today, but earlier today some noted that there were no lines:
However, this wasn’t true in all Denton County locations:
But some people in Denton County are unhappy about the “I Voted” stickers.
El Paso County: By Thursday, more than 27 percent of registered voters had voted early in El Paso County, compared to 20 percent in 2014 early voting, My San Antonio reported. El Paso had the second-highest early voting turnout of any election, but it wasn’t expected to surpass 2016.
By about 12:30 p.m. Central, 24,000 had voted in El Paso County today. Overall voting was expected to possibly surpass 2014 but not quite meet the 2016 turnout. El Paso County is the home county of Beto O’Rourke.
Harris County: Harris County’s early voting turnout surpassed the entire voting turnout for 2014, the Houston Chronicle reported. By the end of the last day of early voting, the numbers showed 855,711 early votes cast, compared to 977,000 in 2016 and far surpassing 375,000 in 2014. It even surpassed 758,000 early votes in 2012.
Numbers are not available yet for Harris County’s turnout today. But in response to a question by MSNBC reporter Garrett Hake, some noted that the lines were shorter today as compared to early voting in the county.
Unfortunately, Harris County has experienced some voting problems today, with half of the machines not working at some polling locations in the morning. At Pleasantville Elementary, voters were told that all the machines had stopped working in the morning. In total, at least 18 polling locations didn’t open on time or were open only partially in the morning, East Texas Matters reported.
Nueces County: In Nueces County, early voting turnout in 2014 reached a total of 33,422. By Thursday, the 2018 number had already beaten 2014 with a total of 59,898 ballots. Nueces County is easily surpassing 2014 early voting numbers.
Turnout numbers for today aren’t yet known in Nueces County.
Tarrant County: Early voting in Tarrant County on Day 12 surpassed 2014 by more than 20,000 votes, but it was about 5,000 votes shy of 2016.
Allison Campolo posed a question on Twitter about what poll lines were looking like today in Tarrant County. One person said there were 100 people in line upon arriving at a polling location in South Grand Prairie this morning. School locations also had long lines this morning, another person noted.
But others noted there were no lines where they went to vote later today:
Turnout numbers for today in Tarrant County aren’t yet known.
Travis County: 200 more people voted early in 2018 than in 2016 (372,388 compared to 372,188), but the overall percentages were lower (51 percent voted early in 2016 and 47.2 percent voted early in 2018.)
As of 3 p.m. today, a total of 70,923 votes were cast on November 6 (including 8,652 votes cast between 2 and 3 p.m. Central.) The total votes cast in the election in Travis County currently stands at 443,253, which is 56.2 percent of total voters.
In 2016, the total voter turnout was 62.2 percent including early voting and election day. Some are saying that Austin, a heavily Democratic state, may end up exceeding voter turnout from the 2016 presidential election.
Williamson County: More than 43 percent of registered voters voted early in 2018, compared to 38 percent voting early in 2014, My San Antonio reported.
As of 2 p.m. Central, 23,000 people had voted today in Williamson County. The greatest turnout was before 8 a.m., with numbers trickling down after that.
The Cruz-Beto election is no doubt helping voter turnout as it attracts attention not only in Texas, but across the nation. One of the most recent controversies involved a Project Veritas video claiming that O’Rourke’s campaign had illegally used campaign funds to help potential immigrants in a caravan in Mexico. O’Rourke’s campaign clarified what happened, explaining that staff had taken it upon themselves to use less than $300 in campaign funds to donate supplies to an El Paso nonprofit to help people in need, Texas Tribune reported.
Meanwhile, Cruz and O’Rourke were close in the polls, even leading up to election day.