Early voting in person continues across Texas through Friday. Today (Wednesday) was Day Ten. Texas likely set a turnout record today, measured as the number of people voting early in person or by mail in the 15 counties with the most registered voters. We will know by mid-day tomorrow (Thursday).
Reports for today’s turnout indicate yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) rebound is sustaining itself. We begin with highlights from Day Ten.
Harris Co. has already set a record for most early votes cast in a Texas county for a general election. With two days left to vote early in person, almost 790K have voted early in the county. The previous record was 767K, set after the 12th day of early voting in 2012. Harris Co. also set a record for in-person early votes cast. Not quite 701K Harris Co. residents have voted early in person through 10 days, which just eclipses the 2012 total of 700K, set after the 12th day of early voting. Same-day turnout was 26% above the corresponding day in 2012 and 6% above 2008.
Travis Co. has also achieved record early voting turnout. On Wednesday, the number of votes cast in person or by mail passed 300K, eclipsing the 2008 record of 299K, set after the 12th day of early voting.
Denton Co. actually set a turnout record yesterday (Tuesday) after just nine days, when total turnout exceeded 176K. The previous high through 12 days was 174K in 2008. Another 19K voted today, either in person or by mail, a slight decline from the day before. Williamson Co. also set its record for total early votes cast on Tuesday.
Montgomery Co.’s 129K total early voters through 10 days has eclipsed the previous 12-day record of 122K set in 2012. The number of in-person early voters was the highest since Saturday. Same-day turnout was 60% above this day in 2012, 27% above 2008 and 76% above 2004.
Looking back at the totals through Day Nine (Tuesday), early voting turnout in the 15 counties with the most registered voters passed the 3.3M mark, 36% ahead of 2012, 39% ahead of 2008 and 116% ahead of 2004. In-person early voting turnout was slightly higher than Monday’s, and same-day turnout was 22% more than the corresponding day in 2012, 2% more than 2008 and 37% more than 2004.
Through Tuesday, the majority of the state’s primary voters have already cast their ballots, according to an analysis by Republican political consultant Derek Ryan. About 65% of eligible voters whose primary participation is solely Republican and 64% whose primary participation is solely Democratic have also voted in the general election. Only about 32% of voters with prior general election only histories have already voted.
So, now the question is, will Election Day turnout be lower because more voters have chosen to vote earlier? Or will all those new voters registered since the primary push overall turnout to a new record (The old mark is just over 8M set in 2008.).
Voters with no prior election history have cast about 13% of early votes so far. Republican primary voters account for 35% of early votes, and Democratic primary voters account for 24%. Ryan analyzes voter rosters from 20 of the state’s most populous counties. This includes most, but not all, of the counties included in the Secretary of State’s daily early voting reports.
In 2008, Texas experienced a significant jump in early voting turnout, shattering the previous turnout record. It was followed by an Election Day during which fewer people voted than in 2006. It’s only a real record if early vote plus Election Day sets a record.