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Early voting totals, Day One

Here’s the Day One early voting totals for Harris County, which you can compare to the 2009 totals here. My buddy Erik Vidor also put together a spreadsheet with 2005 and 2007 totals that you can see here. There’s a lot of numbers tro keep track of, so let’s go through them.

– The total number of votes tallied for a given day is the sum of “Total – In Person” and “Mail Ballots Returned”. This is how I do it in my 2009 spreadsheet, but for reasons unclear to me, it’s given as “Total – In Person” plus “Ballots Mailed” in the County Clerk file. So the proper comparison here is 4,636 votes for 2011 (2,557 In Person plus 2,079 Ballots Returned) to 6,162 for 2009, 2,638 for 2007, and 3,385 for 2005.

– Putting it another way, the Day One EV total for 2011 is 75.2% of the 2009 total. Project that out, and there would be 134,503 Houston votes cast in Harris County; compare to 178,777 in 2009. The actual totals are higher due to precincts in Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties. That’s considerably higher than my prediction, and even higher than Bob Stein’s prediction, which I thought was optimistic. It’s foolish to make projections based on one day, but based on this one day at least, there’s no clear evidence that this will be a historically low-turnout election. It will still be a low turnout affair at this pace, but it will be comparable to 2007, not a step down from it.

– One reason why it’s foolish to make projections based on one day is that the normal pattern for early voting is a slow first week and a very busy last couple of days. Things got a lot busier at the end in 2005 – the number of ballots cast on the last day of Early Voting exceeded the total of the first five days combined – but not nearly as busy in 2007 or 2009. That partly reflects the overall shift in voting behavior to early voting – in 2005, 26.4% of ballots cast in the city races were early, compared to 34.9% of ballots in 2009. The Double Secret Illegal Anti-Gay Marriage constitutional amendment ha a bif effect on turnout in 2005, but my point is simply that we should expect a greater percentage of the total vote to be cast early this year than it was then. My guess is the early vote will represent 35 to 40 percent of the final total.

– Another thing to keep in mind is that the vote totals you see in those documents are from all of Harris County, not just Houston. In 2009, 69.5% of the votes cast in Harris County were City of Houston votes. In 2007, 63.6% of the votes were in Houston, and in 2005 only 56.9% of the vote share was Houston. There are no high profile Constitutional amendments on the ballot, so the Houston vote share will certainly be higher than it was in 2005, but the question is whether it’s more like 2007 or 2009, as that will affect the total vote outcome.

– On a side note, the total number of absentee ballots that had been mailed out by Day One of early voting in 2009 was 17,413, while that same number for 2011 is 12,041. However, there were more mail ballots returned by yesterday (2,079) than there were at this time on 2009 (2,073). There were 9,148 mail ballots returned by the end of early voting in 2009 out of 20,987 total mailed, or 43.6%. This year’s return total may be a bit higher than that.

That’s all for today. I’ll be keeping track of this going forward. So who’s voted yet?

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One Comment

  1. Joshua bullard says:

    “not so fast” i clearly informed every one that it will not be a low turnout-becuase of the massive amounts of canidates in each of the campaigns city wide and in every corner of the city,i was surprised that charles and his buddie still projected a very low turn out-they both could have gone fishing in galveston instead of doing all the number crunching-its rather elementary.lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of canidates=solid turn out, everytime.

    joshua ben bullard
    “to lazy to spell check”…………….