Here they are, fresh from the inbox:
Year Early Mail Total Mailed
2015 8,889 14,240 23,129 40,626
2013 5,028 8,560 13,588 28,620
1. Clearly, Day One totals are up from 2013. I would caution anyone from reading too much into this. For one, as more people have shifted to voting early, a larger percentage of the final total gets cast early. To put that another way, we can’t say from this that we are headed to a bigger turnout year, or more specifically to a bigger year of a given magnitude. My guess is that the more enthusiastic voters got themselves out on Day One instead of spreading their vote out a bit more through the week, but we’ll see. Someone will have to review the daily roster to get a feel for how many of Monday’s voters were old faithfuls and how many were not – remember, in 2013, about 30% of all voters had not voted in either of the previous two city elections. This information will be available, but we don’t have it yet, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
2. Same for mail ballots. When I reviewed them two weeks ago, I guessed we might be at 36-37,000 total ballots mailed out by today. We exceeded that by about ten percent, which puts us a good 25% above the mail ballot total from 2013, so we are definitely in line for more such ballots being returned this year. Again, though, that doesn’t mean more new voters – some number of these people are surely folks who had reliably turned out in person before. About 80% of the ballots that had been mailed out in 2013 were ultimately returned. As of Day One in 2013, 30% of all ballots that had been sent out were in the can. For this year, that total is 35%, so in keeping with the in person crowd, the absentee voters have been more prompt this year. We’ll keep an eye on that to see if the final tally is up.
3. Remember also, these are Harris County totals, not just Houston. It’s possible that more people in the not-Houston parts of Harris County have voted so far than they did in 2013. I doubt that would be very much, but again, until we see the rosters we’re just guessing.
4. Anecdotally, I’ve been seeing a ton of activity on Facebook about the election, and in particular the need to support HERO. A lot of that is from the usual suspects, though not all of it. It certainly feels like more interest than 2013, but it’s easy to lose perspective on that sort of thing. I also don’t have that many anti-HERO friends – certainly not the hardcore kind – so my view is skewed as well. But hey, at least we’re engaged.
Have you voted yet? I expect to later this week. I’ll keep track of the daily EV totals, though I may not post about them each day