Early voting in person began Monday and runs through November 2. First, a look back at historic Day 1.
More than 572K people voted early in person on Monday, or their mail ballots were returned by Monday, in the 15 counties with the most registered voters. That is more than the number of people who voted in person and by mail in the Top 15 counties on Day 1 in 2006, 2010 and 2014 combined. It is just short of the number of people who voted on Day 1 in 2016, a presidential election. In the chart below, 2018 turnout for Day 1 is a purple dot just below the first gray dot. After tomorrow, a line will be visible for 2018.
According to a preliminary analysis by Republican strategist and data nerd Derek Ryan, about three quarters of votes cast on or before Day 1 were from voters who participated in one or both of the last two gubernatorial elections. About one in five votes came from participants in one or both of the last two presidential elections, but who did not vote in 2010 or 2014. About 6% were cast by people who had not voted in any of the last four even-year general elections.
Ryan also analyzed the primary participation (PDF) of Day 1 early voters:
- 36% of Day 1 early voters have recent Republican primary history but no Democratic primary history, up from 32% in the 2014 general election.
- 34% of Day 1 early voters have recent Democratic primary history but no Republican primary history, about the same as in 2014.
- 3% have mixed voted in both parties’ primaries recently, down from 7% in 2014.
- 21% have no primary history but voted in a recent general election (gubernatorial and/or presidential), about a point behind 2014; and
- 6% have no prior voting history, about a point ahead of 2014.
About 20% of each party’s most partisan voters – defined as voting in four straight primaries – have already cast ballots this year.
Voters under age 30 comprise about 6% of the votes cast on Day 1 in 2018, about the same as in 2014. Voters aged 70 and up are all voting at a higher rate than in 2014, but that is to be expected this early on in the early voting period. Many ballots by mail are from voters aged 70 and up, and Day 1 totals include all mail ballots received up to that date. As early voting continues, we expect the participation of older voters to move closer to previous elections.
So, what does all of this suggest? First of all, it should suggest that all this data is for one day. There are 11 more. Second, it suggests the history-making turnout yesterday was driven primarily by “regular” gubernatorial election voters voting earlier in the voting window than in past years.
We looked at the Day 1 turnout in Dallas Co. by House district. The three highest vote totals occurred in Republican-held HD114 open (Lisa Luby Ryan), HD108 (Rep. Morgan Meyer) and HD115 (Rep. Matt Rinaldi). The four lowest vote totals occurred in Democrat-held HD100 (Rep. Eric Johnson), HD103 (Rep. Rafael Anchia), HD104 open (Jessica Gonzalez) and HD110 (Rep. Toni Rose).
In HD115, Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) received 50% or more of the vote in 2016 in 15 of the 20 precincts with the highest number of early voters yesterday. Seven of those precincts were among Rinaldi’s nine top precincts in 2016. He received 50% or more in 2016 in just four of the 20 precincts with the lowest number of early voters yesterday.
Meanwhile, in HD105, Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie) received 50% or more of the vote in 2016 in 13 of the 20 precincts with the highest number of early voters yesterday, and he won 12 of the 20 precincts with the lowest number of early voters yesterday (We excluded precincts with fewer than 10 voters.). Five of Anderson’s six best precincts from 2016 are in the bottom 20 in terms of early voting turnout yesterday.
In HD114, Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) received 50% or more of the vote head-to-head against his 2016 Democratic opponent in 17 of the 20 precincts with the highest number of Day 1 early voters. However, Villalba is not on the ballot. He significantly overperformed other Republicans in his district, so it is unclear whether Ryan will inherit his percentages in those precincts.
Over in Tarrant Co., the runaway leader in early voting turnout was HD98, which is represented by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake). Just over 13K people voted in person on Day 1, 3K more than the next highest district, HD97 (Rep. Matt Krause).
Now on to Day 2.
Turnout continued to exceed prior gubernatorial elections’ Day 2 turnout. Numbers were lower than Day 1 overall because far fewer ballots by mail are counted on Day 2 than Day 1. For example, in Harris Co., more than 52K mail ballots had been received by Monday, and they all counted toward the Day 1 number. Today (Tuesday), fewer than 2K mail ballots arrived.
One caution before we continue. Same-day numbers are always preliminary. Yesterday, we reported Dallas Co. had 55K in-person and by-mail early voters. It turns out that figure did not include mail ballots, so the actual number reported to the Secretary of State was nearly 82K. On to today’s numbers:
- In Harris Co., nearly 65K voted in person, slightly ahead of yesterday’s 63K, bringing the two-day total to 182K, including mail ballots. That’s nearly 100K more than through two days in 2014 and just about 23K below 2016.
- In Tarrant Co., more than 45K voted in person today, about 5K more than on Day 1. In 2014, a total of 45K had voted in person and by mail through the first two days of early voting.
- In Bexar Co., 35K voted in person today, about 1K more than yesterday. In 2014, a total of 41K voted in person and by mail through the first two days of early voting.
- In Williamson Co., not quite 19K voted in person today, a little less than Day 1. Overall, 44K have voted in person or by mail, which is roughly three and a half times the number who voted during the first two days of 2014 and about 3K more than the first two days of 2016.
We’ll have numbers from the other counties tomorrow.
©2018 Texas Election Source LLC