# June HCAD special election runoff early voting Day Five: The pace of the mail ballots

I’ll get right to it, here’s your Day Five EV report for the June HCAD runoffs. I’ve said before in these recaps that I don’t often have much to say about them because there’s not much of a basis for comparison with other elections, but then I had the bright idea to look at the pace at which mail ballots have been returned. Going with the other recent elections we looked at, this is what we get:

```
Election    Day1     ROW   Total     ROW%
=========================================
Nov 23     3,281   4,786   8,067   59.32%
Dec 23       829   7,760   8,589   90.35%

Mar 24D    6,217   5,046  11,263   44.80%
May 24DR  11,291     887  12,178    7.28%

May 24    10,858   2,043  12,901   15.84%
Jun 24     1,699   6,857   8,556   80.14%
```

I’ve grouped this a little differently than I did the look back on early voting patterns, by grouping these into elections and their subsequent runoffs, rather than just listing them each in chronological order. I had hoped that would provide a more precise basis for comparison, but it’s all a bit muddled regardless. But this is the data we have, so let’s see what it tells us.

Anyway, the middle two races are the Dem primary and primary runoff, and the last two are the May special and June special runoff. “Day1” is the number of mail ballots that were reported for the first day of early in person voting. “ROW” is “rest of week”, which is to say the number of mail ballots from Tuesday through Friday of that week, and “Total” is the sum of those two numbers. “ROW%” is the percentage of mail ballots for the first five days of early voting that were received after Day One.

What I think tis tells me is that it’s not unusual for a short-turnaround runoff to lag a bit in mail ballots early on, with voters using the EV period to catch up. It also tells me that the length of the EV period matters – the December 23 and June 24 runoffs had nine days of early voting, with twelve days between the start of early voting – in other words, the Day1 field – and the runoff day itself. For the party primary runoff, all of early voting happened in five days, with runoff days three days later. I think that, and the long period between the March primary and its late May runoff, might be the reason why the May primary runoff has such a weird pattern. Day1 for that race was farther along in the process than it was for the other runoffs.

I don’t quite understand why so few mail ballots were received for day one of the November 2023 election, especially in comparison to the May 2024 special election. The same befuddlement applies to the March primary. Both had plenty of lead time, as did the May special, and both had well-funded candidates who had an interest in getting their voters to return their mail ballots. All I got for you here is a shrug, and the affirmation that it’s common enough for a bunch of mail ballots to roll in over the course of early voting. That the short-turnaround runoffs had a low initial volume of mail ballots, especially in June given how soon it followed the May primary runoff, is not surprising. I’m just glad, and relieved, to see that the mail ballots keep coming in, and that this is normal behavior. Now it’s mostly a matter of where that ends up.

Anyway. As of Friday, we are at 8,008 in person early votes, to go with those 8,556 mail ballots, for a grand total of 16,564 through five days, with four more to go. We also have another full week of mail ballot returns, so hopefully that number will keep on climbing nicely. I’m feeling pretty good about that. Go vote if you haven’t done so yet, and pester your friends to do the same.

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