September 29, 2004
Registrations up in San Antonio

We know (via Byron) that voter registrations are up sharply in Travis County. Now, via Lasso, we see that it's way up in Bexar County, too.

More than 62,000 Bexar County residents have registered to vote since January, boosting the number of local eligible voters to a record level of almost 900,000 and causing officials to brace for the upcoming presidential election.

If only half of all those who are registered to vote actually show up at the polls Nov. 2, it would be the largest voter turnout in Bexar history, officials said Tuesday.


According to election records, there were 896,913 registered voters in Bexar County as of Tuesday afternoon about 25,000 more than the 2000 presidential election.

The number of new voters began trickling in during January and rose sharply in time for the primary elections in March. Since Sept. 1 alone, there have been 21,985 new registered voters, marking the largest influx so far.

The north and northeast parts of the county set the pace for new registered voters this year with 22,819.

The western part was the lowest with 11,551.

While the number of registered voters usually peaks during presidential election years, voter turnout out traditionally is only about 50 percent, experts say.

In Bexar County, 47 percent of the 871,000 eligible voters participated in the 2000 election.

Idealistic concerns for democracy aside, there's a big reason to be happy about this. I've been going through election return data, and in just about every election I've checked, going back to 1996 so far, the Democrats do better in the four major urban counties (Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis) than they do statewide. Here's an example, from 2000:


George W. Bush /Dick Cheney REP 3,799,639 59.29%
Al Gore /Joe Lieberman DEM 2,433,746 37.98%

Bexar County

George W. Bush /Dick Cheney REP 215,613 52.24%
Al Gore /Joe Lieberman DEM 185,158 44.86%

Dallas County

George W. Bush /Dick Cheney REP 322,345 52.58%
Al Gore /Joe Lieberman DEM 275,308 44.90%

Harris County

George W. Bush /Dick Cheney REP 529,159 54.28%
Al Gore /Joe Lieberman DEM 418,267 42.90%

Travis County

George W. Bush /Dick Cheney REP 141,235 46.88%
Al Gore /Joe Lieberman DEM 125,526 41.66%
Ralph Nader /Winona LaDuke GRN 31,243 10.37%

Nader result included to explain the oddness of the Travis County result. If Ralphie gets even half that percentage this year, I'll be equal parts stunned and pissed off.

The pattern has held true through close elections and blowouts, in nearly every statewide contest in every year I've checked. Given the number of hotly contested Congressional and State House races in these counties, that bodes well for the Democrats. I don't know how things are going in Dallas, and I don't have any current data for Harris County (though at the Deputy Voter Registrar seminar I attended three weeks ago, Paul Bettencourt said he expected about 1.9 million registered voters by the deadline, which is a new high but apparently not a record increase for a single year).

On a side note, in case you're curious, the pattern does not hold for Tarrant County, which is a GOP bastion. It holds very strongly for El Paso County, which is about as Democratic as you get.

I'm working on a spreadsheet with all the data, and will post it along with my interpretations hopefully later this week. In the meantime, keep those registrations coming in. Good things happen when they do.

UPDATE: Byron is less certain that the spike in Bexar voter reg is good for Democrats.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 29, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

That data would seem to bode well for Democratic candidates in House races, but the presidential election is still a GOP hammerlock.

Posted by: Patrick on September 29, 2004 6:35 PM

Ralphie ain't gettin' one percent of what he got in 2000 in Travis Co. He's not on the Texas ballot, remember?

Posted by: Byron L on September 29, 2004 8:17 PM

Until the courts rule, I ain't counting any chickens, you know?

Patrick - yes, and it's the local races I'm aiming for. Despite David Van Os' protestations, Texas is a long way from being purple.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on September 29, 2004 8:46 PM

Presented for possible anecdotal interest...

While at South by Southwest in Austin earlier this year, I attended the premiere of "The Hunting of the President." Several Nader volunteers were working the line of people waiting to get in. Reactions ranged from sarcastic cold-shouldering to outright hostility. Even if the courts rule in his favor, I still tend to agree with Byron.

Posted by: Pete on September 30, 2004 12:11 AM

Dallas checks in!

No "official" numbers yet... but here's what we've been doing:

Posted by: Crispin on October 3, 2004 9:28 PM


Posted by: kathleen on October 31, 2004 8:21 PM