October 21, 2008
More on Day One of early voting

Here's the Chron story about Day One of early voting in Harris County.

A total of 39,201 votes were cast Monday in Harris County, a record turnout almost double that of 2004's first day and one that was mirrored across Texas. The precise total of ballots case in the state's 15 most populous counties will not be known until today, but the number certainly will eclipse the 145,000 from four years ago.

Here are the totals for the top 15 yesterday. You'll be able to follow those numbers here. For comparison purposes, the Day One 2004 numbers are here, with all of the dailies here. The total for yesterday in these counties was 231,728 in-person votes, or 2.74% turnout; for Day One of 2004, it was 144,598 and 1.78%. Definitely a spike for this year, so the question is whether it will continue, or if it was just a first day phenomenon.

In Harris County, the combined totals for the early voting locations in every State House district except for HD128 were up from 2004, in some cases dramatically so. The biggest gainer percentagewise was Moody Park in my home district 148, which went from 227 in 2004 to 977 yesterday. HD130 had the biggest absolute gain, going from 615 in 2004 to 2446 yesterday; there are now two early voting locations in that district, which probably helped facilitate the gain. Overall, more votes were cast in the 13 Democratic-held HDs than in the 12 Republican HDs, a reversal from 2004. In 2004, there were 9,377 votes cast in those 13 HD locations, or 44.9%, and 10,938 votes cast in the 12 GOP HDs, or 52.4%. This year, it's 19,012, or 48.5% for the Dems, and 18,763, or 47.9% for the GOP. I consider the downtown location, which went from 553 in 2004 to 1426 yesterday, to be neutral turf. Again, we'll see if all this continues or if day one was an anomaly.

Dallas County surpassed its record of 23,000 voters two hours before the expected end-of-day rush, leading election administrator Bruce Sherbet to say that if the trend keeps up over the course of the 12-day voting period "there's not going to be anything close to compare it to."

In Corpus Christi, the surge of first-day voters briefly overwhelmed a computer system that "wasn't ready to handle the load," election manager Rochelle Limon said, who added that the problem was fixed in 15 minutes.

Even in Galveston, where problems caused by Hurricane Ike give people plenty of other things to worry about, the first-day turnout was heavy, with more than 4,000 ballots cast. The only real issue is on Bolivar Peninsula, where the remaining residents have no site at which to vote.

"I think it's terrible," said Curt Rodriguez, assistant chief of the Port Bolivar Volunteer Fire Department. "I won't vote early because of it."

Other reports have come in for Travis, Hidalgo, Williamson, Fort Bend, and Grayson Counties, with some bonus Travis County number-crunching thrown in for good measure.

Kaufman's office was informed early Monday that some of the first voters had cast straight-ticket Democratic ballots only to discover that the machines had recorded their presidential vote as Republican.

DeLeon said the equipment was tested and found to be working properly, but he suggested that voters should double-check their selections before submitting the vote.

Straight-ticket voters should not select any individual candidates as that might cancel out their vote in that particular race.

Just a reminder, people: If you're going to vote a straight ticket, just vote a straight ticket. The only other race you need to consider is the special election in SD17. If you don't see that on your ballot, push the straight ticket button, cast your vote, and you're done. Don't mess with anything else.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 21, 2008 to Election 2008

do we know if we will see any voting results (as in, who is leading) before election day itself?

Posted by: tubin on October 21, 2008 6:51 PM

Tubin - We will not see early voting results until after the polls close on Election Day. That's standard practice, for the same reason why the networks try to avoid projecting a winner of the Presidential race until the polls close out west.

Now, the campaigns get data that show exactly who has voted early (I get sent this stuff, too), so they can tell how well they're doing as things progress, more or less. But no official results get published until everyone has voted.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on October 21, 2008 7:32 PM

In SD17, that race is listed before the party line option is given, so you have to skip it to miss it.

Posted by: progrocks on October 21, 2008 9:43 PM
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