Early voting has ended for Tuesday’s general election.

Turnout continues to be below 2018 levels overall, but it showed signs of gaining ground over the past couple of days. For the first time this year, the number of early voters exceeded the same day in 2018 in the 15 counties with the most registered voters (RVs) on Wednesday and Thursday.

The cumulative number of votes cast in these counties through 10 days is down 13% – about 500K fewer – than in 2018. It is down 32% – roughly 1.5M voters – from 2020. Both of those percentages have decreased over the past couple of days.

Statewide, more than 4.75M Texans have voted in person or by mail through yesterday (Thur.), a turnout so far of 26.9%. As of this point in 2020, 6.9M Texans had already voted, a turnout of 407.5%. Only the 30 counties with the most RVs were required to report daily totals in 2018, so there is no comparable statewide figure.

Looking at the 30 counties with the most RVs, 3.8M votes have been cast so far, a decrease of 13% from the same point in 2018 and 31% from 2020. In the five counties with the most RVs – Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis – the number of votes cast is down 16% compared to 2018 and 33% compared to 2020.

In Harris Co., the total number of voters casting ballots early is down 15% from this point in 2018. Turnout is down more in Black- (19%) and Hispanic/Latino-majority (20%) zip codes than in White-majority (5%) zip codes, according to our analysis of turnout data compiled by Harris County Clerk Hector De Leon.

TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, has been tracking early voting turnout by district. It models partisan affiliation of voters based on their own formulas. According to their modeling, here are the partisan predictions of voters for competitive districts:

  • SD27 (Toss Up): 53% Democrat, 31% Republican
  • HD34 (Toss Up): 57% Democrat, 30% Republican
  • HD35 (Lean D): 68% Democrat, 17% Republican
  • HD37 open (Lean R): 48% Democrat, 35% Republican
  • HD41 (Lean D): 56% Democrat, 26% Republican
  • HD70 open (Toss Up): 46% Democrat, 36% Republican
  • HD74 (Lean R): 53% Democrat, 31% Republican
  • HD118 (Lean R): 43% Democrat, 38% Republican
  • CD15 open (Likely R): 49% Democrat, 36% Republican
  • CD28 (Toss Up): 51% Democrat, 31% Republican; and
  • CD34 (Toss Up): 61% Democrat, 23% Republican.

The remainder for each district is “unaffiliated” according to their model.

Early voting continues to be dominated by primary voters. According to Republican strategist and data nerd Derek Ryan’s latest analysis, more than 70% of early voters have most recently voted in a Republican primary (42%) or a Democratic primary (29%). General election voters have cast 23% of ballots so far, and voters with no recent history have cast 5% of ballots.

As it has been in recent election cycles, turnout percentages are increase with the frequency of past voting. Ryan looked at the past four primary election cycles and found:

  • 81% of people who voted in each of the last four Democratic primaries and 76% who voted in each of the last four Republican primaries have already voted
  • 67% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans who voted in three of the past four primaries have already voted
  • 55% of Democrats and 56% of Republicans who voted in two of the past four primaries have already voted
  • 38% of Democrats and 41% of Republicans who voted in one of the past four primaries have already voted
  • 18% of people who have not voted in any of the past four primaries but have voted in at least one of the past four general elections have already voted; and
  • 5% of people who are registered to vote but have not voted in any of the past four primary or general elections have already voted.

As we have often said, voting begets voting.

Absentee Ballots: Of the 175K mail ballots that have been processed (not counted) so far, the rejection rate has been 1.78%, according to the Secretary of State. This is above the 2020 general election rejection rate of 1% but well below the 12.4% – one out of every eight – rejection rate for the March primary election. Of the rejected ballots in March, 58% were Democratic primary voters and 42% were Republican primary voters.

House Speaker: Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) filed to challenge Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont).