November 03, 2008
SOS estimates nine million voters


Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade is predicting that 68 percent of eligible Texans will vote this presidential election - outdrawing the George W. Bush and John Kerry contest by 12 percentage points.

"There is a lot of energy across Texas regarding this election," Ms. Andrade said. "We have seen it in early voting and I think it will translate into heavy voter turnout on election day."

Since 1970, Texans have exceeded a turnout of 68 percent only once, in the 1992 presidential election when Bill Clinton defeated two native sons also on the ballot, George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot.

Doing the math, there are 13.5 million registered voters in Texas. Sixty-eight percent turnout translates into about 9.1 million ballots cast. I had contemplated the possibility of almost nine million voters a month ago, and thought it was unlikely at that time. I'm still skeptical, but less so now. The final early voting totals were very strong, and it really won't take anything extraordinary at this point to get us the rest of the way there.

In early voting in the state's top 15 counties that ended Oct. 31, 3.5 million have cast their ballots, representing 42 percent of the registered voters in those counties.

From the Texas Weekly chart, we know that the Top 15 represents 61.3% of registered voters in Texas. Assuming the other 239 counties turned out early at the same 42% rate, some 5.7 million ballots have already been cast. We would need 3.4 million ballots on Election Day, of which about 2.1 million would come from the Top 15, to get to 9.1 million overall. This says that 60% of the total vote in Texas has already been cast.

Applying all this to Harris County, if we have the same turnout as the projected total for the state, we should expect about 1.3 million votes here. Harris actually turned out at a slightly higher rate than the state as a whole did in 2004; using that as a guide, we get to about 1.35 million. On the other hand, if 60% of the total vote in Harris has already occurred, we'll finish at about 1.22 million. That works out to 63% turnout here. Note that this implies an Election Day total of between 500,000 and 600,000, more or less. E-day turnout in 2004 was about 650,000, so a less busy day than that seems likely, even though the final result will blow past the 2004 total.

Finally, I ran into Burt Levine at lunch today, and he told me that they're expecting another 100,000 votes to be cast in Fort Bend tomorrow. Fort Bend has already had over 50% turnout in early voting, and another 100K would bring them up to a mind-blowing 85%. I would take the under on that bet, but just the possibility of it shows again what an amazing year this has been.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 03, 2008 to Election 2008

Hey Chuck. Clinton won the general, of course, but GHWB barely beat Bill in Tejas.

Right, or is my memory failing me?

Posted by: Martin Hajovsky on November 3, 2008 8:28 PM

Marty - You are correct. The result in 1992, according to the Secretary of State, was Bush/Quayle 40.6, Clinton/Gore 37.1, Perot/Stockdale 22.0.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 4, 2008 5:59 AM
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