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No official guess on turnout

The Secretary of State doesn’t want to speculate about turnout for today’s election.

“We are not making a projection on the turnout for tomorrow,” Russell Dillard, spokesman for Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, said Monday. “It’s pretty difficult to do for primary elections.”


Andrade is reluctant to guess an overall number because recent surges in early voting haven’t necessarily coincided with huge increases in turnout, Dillard said.

He noted that in the November 2008 presidential election, early votes were a misleading gauge. While more than 5.3 million Texans cast early votes in that election, they ended up being 66 percent of the total vote – not 51 percent, as they’d been in 2004.

“In 2008, we saw the early voting totals and thought there’d be a larger turnout on Election Day,” Dillard said.

The total vote was just under 8.1 million, not that big of an increase from the 7.4 million cast four years earlier.

For today’s primary, early voting began Feb. 16 and ended Friday. In the state’s 15 most-populous counties, early voting was nearly double what it was in the governor’s race primaries of 2006, Dillard said.

But “we are just not sure anymore what the early voting total means,” he said.

My assumption is that about 40 to 50% of the in-person votes were cast early. 2008 was an anomaly driven in part by a relentless “Vote Early!” message, mostly from the Democratic Party. Secretary Andrade didn’t factor that in when she projected that nine million people would vote in 2008. I guess I understand the reluctance to make a projection, but I still think it’s a bit wimpy. What’s at stake if she’s wrong?

Anyway. You can see the early vote totals for the 15 most populous counties here, and compare them to the 2006 results here. Anyone want to go where the SOS refuses to and make their own guess about turnout?

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