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Runoff EV report, Day 8

Before I get into today’s numbers, there was an incident at one of the early voting locations this morning.

Police say someone broke into the Hester House Community Center, an early-voting location in the Fifth Ward, overnight, but officials with the Harris County Clerk’s Office said the integrity of the vote was not compromised.

Still, some voters in the community said they can’t help but feel concerned.

“I want my vote to county fair and square,” said Evelyn Thacker, who showed up to vote at the Hester House Community Center just a few hours after the break-in was discovered.

Officials say the suspect or suspects smashed through a window and gained entry to the voting area. When election workers arrived early Monday morning, they discovered the place ransacked and saw that some electronic equipment had been taken.

“The vandals took a modem, two printers and a pair of computers used to store voter registration information,” according to the Harris County Clerk Chief Deputy Kevin Mauzy. “The voting machines were not touched. The seals were not tampered with and the locks were not broken.”

County Clerk Beverly Kaufman called it “an incident of random vandalism”, according to a statement. The computers were said to contain only information that is publicly accessible. I sure hope so.

And now for the early voting totals update. As you can see from the spreadsheet, today’s total of 7494 was the highest of the early voting period. Strictly speaking, though, it wasn’t as busy as it was during the first four days last week, when the EV hours were shorter. From Monday through Thursday, 23,199 in-person votes were cast over 36 hours, or about 642 per hour. Today, those 7494 votes over 12 hours represent a rate of 624 per hour. Counting absentee ballots, we’ve seen 52,400 votes for Houston plus West U, with one day to go. I’m going to guess we’ll get between 65,000 and 70,000 total early votes. Need I say again that I am skeptical of the projections that turnout for the runoff will exceed that of the general? I still am. We’ll see how we end up.

By the way, I’m happy to note that despite the problems at the Hester House, it had its best turnout day today, with 196 votes cast. Hopefully there will be no more problems.

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