Early voting continued today (Thursday). Preliminary reports suggest in-person turnout remains record-setting for a gubernatorial election but is losing ground on the 2016 pace.

In Harris Co., in-person early voting dipped a bit from the last three days. Almost 59K people cast ballots in person on Day 4, down about 7% from the average of the first three days. Over four days, 309K have voted in person or by mail, which is 2.3 times the number who voted during the first four days in 2014 but 57K behind the 2016 pace. In Bexar Co., a little over 34K voted in person today, up a bit from yesterday.

Looking back at Day 3, nearly 1.6M Texans had voted in person or by mail through the first three days in the 30 counties with the most registered voters, which is roughly 13% of registered voters in those counties. In the 15 counties with the most registered voters, 1.3M voted early through the first three days, which is 2.7 times the number who voted through three days in 2014. At this pace, on Saturday, the number of votes cast early in 2018 will exceed the entire number of early votes cast in 2014.

El Paso and Williamson Cos. have already seen turnout in excess of the entire 2014 early voting period.

According to an ongoing analysis (PDF) by Republican strategist Derek Ryan, primary voters continue to make up the bulk of early voters. Nearly two thirds of early voters have exclusively voted in the Republican (35%) or Democratic (31%) primaries, and another 3% have mixed primary voting history. Just under 24% have no primary voting history but have voted in recent general elections. The remaining 8% have no recent voting history.

In Dallas Co., 40% of early voters have recent Democratic primary history and 30% have recent Republican primary history. This suggests, at least countywide, that Democratic candidates are building an advantage in straight-party voting. In Harris Co., it is the Republicans building an advantage, at least countywide. About 37% of early votes there have been cast by voters with recent Republican primary history compared to 31% with recent Democratic primary history.

Ryan’s analysis finds that just over 6% of voters in Fort Bend Co. have no recent voting history. This is significant to the CD22 race, where Democratic challenger Sri Preston Kulkarni is depending upon votes from a significant number of ethnic voters who typically do not vote in the same proportions as Anglo voters. The highest proportion of new voters occurred in Hidalgo (10.5%), Travis (10.2%) and Cameron (10.1%) Cos. The lowest were Tarrant (6.1%), Galveston (6.3%) and Fort Bend (6.4%) Cos.

Early voting continues until November 2. Mail ballots received after that date are considered early votes.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC