It’s time to vote if you haven’t already. Not many people have, as we know.
Harris County turnout is expected to remain feeble through Election Day, with no marquee race to draw voters to the polls and thousands still displaced by Hurricane Harvey.
Fewer than 59,000 of the county’s more than 2.2 million registered voters cast a ballot by the end of early voting Friday, a paltry showing even in a traditionally low-turnout state.
“Nobody’s voting because really nothing overly controversial is on the ballot,” Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said, projecting total voter participation will reach of 80,000 to 100,000.
Unlike in recent off-cycle elections, Houston residents do not have mayoral or city council races to weigh in on, thanks to a recent change to term limits.
Instead, the city ballot features several propositions, as well as races for the Houston ISD and Houston Community College school boards.
What’s interesting about this is that Prof. Jones is suggesting that somewhere between 60 and 75 percent of the total votes have already been cast. That’s a higher percentage than what I estimated, and it feels a bit peculiar to me because early voting has topped out at around half of the final total in odd-year elections. Maybe this year will be different – Lord knows, it’s different in many other ways – but I would like to understand the reasoning behind that projection. In any event, going by my “Houston is 70% of Harris County in odd year vote totals”, that suggests final citywide turnout of 56,000 to 70,000, which is similar to my estimate but with a lower ceiling.
Here’s the usual press release from the County Clerk’s office:
“Regardless of where voters reside in Harris County, voters will see seven state propositions on their ballot,”said Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, alerting the registered voters in the County that Tuesday’s November 7, 2017 General and Special Elections is a countywide and statewide election. In addition to the State Propositions, the ballot also features items offered by 29 political jurisdictions within the County. Polling locations will be open from 7 am to 7 pm.
“Voters can view their individual sample ballot and review the items on which they may vote by visiting the County Clerk’s election website, www.HarrisVotes.com,” Stanart specified. “This election merits the attention and participation of all voters. Aside from the State, there are five cities, 14 ISDs, and 10 utility districts with contests on the ballot.”
“Voters should know the address of their voting location and the acceptable forms of identification required at the poll before going to vote,” advised Stanart. “The polling location in approximately 30 voting precincts in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, have changed.” There will be 735 Election Day polling location available throughout Harris County. On Election Day, voters must vote at the voting precinct where they are registered to vote.
“Voters in the City of Houston should be aware that this is the first odd-numbered year election when the Mayor, Controller and City Council races are not on the ballot,” informed Stanart. “Don’t be surprised if you don’t see those contests on your ballot.”
Voters may find their designated Election Day polling location, view a personal sample ballot, or review the list of acceptable forms of identification to vote at their poll at www.HarrisVotes.com. Voters may also call 713.755.6965 for election information.
Stan Stanart is the Clerk, Recorder and the Chief Elections Officer of the third largest county in the United States.
List of Political Entities on the Nov. 7, 2017 General & Special Elections Ballot in Harris County, TX State of Texas Pasadena ISD City of Baytown Spring Branch ISD City of Bellaire Stafford Municipal SD City of Houston Tomball ISD City of Missouri City Crosby MUD Houston Community College System Harris County MUD No. 61 (defined area) Aldine ISD Harris County MUD No. 551 Alief ISD Harris County MUD No. 552 Crosby ISD Mount Houston Road MUD Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Northwest Harris County MUD No. 6 Deer Park ISD Northwest Harris County MUD No. 22 Houston ISD Cypress-Klein UD Katy ISD Prestonwood Forest UD Klein ISD Harris County WC & ID No. 133 New Caney ISD The Woodlands Township
Finally, if you have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey, please read this information from the Secretary of State Short version: you can still vote in your original precinct, as long as it is your intent to return there at some point. Note that state election law says you don’t actually have to return, you just have to say you intend to. You can re-register another time. So no excuses, go and vote if you haven’t already. I’ll have results tomorrow.