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Day 2 early voting: Reporting from elsewhere

It was busy everywhere.

Tens of thousands of Texas voters turned out across the state to cast their ballots on Monday, the first day of early voting for the 2018 midterm elections.

The state’s largest counties all saw much larger first-day turnout than they did in the previous midterm elections in 2014. Dallas County’s combined in person and mail-in votes topped out at 55,384 on Monday, almost 26,000 more than were cast in 2014, according to The Dallas Morning News.

In Bexar County, The San Antonio Express News reported that as of 4 p.m. Monday more than 24,000 people had voted in person, compared to 13,436 who voted in person first day in 2014.

Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar, reported on Facebook Monday night in-person and mail-in votes for Travis County totaled 47,405, compared to 17,181 first-day in-person and mail-in votes in 2014.

Smaller counties also saw big turnout. Midland County Election Administrator Deborah Land said out of 84,945 registered voters in her county, 3,546 had voted by 4 p.m. Monday — compared to just 756 who voted the first day in 2014.

“We had a line at the elections office all day,” Land said. “Most of the time it was extending down the hallway.”


In El Paso County, O’Rourke’s home county, a record 17,131 voters turned out Monday as of 7 p.m., said Melissa Rosales, the county’s elections information and resource coordinator.


[Renée Cross, senior director for the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston] said first-day early voting numbers could be indicative of the high number of voter registrations Democrats have garnered this election season in hopes of a “blue wave” giving them control of Congress. However, Cross said it is still be too early to tell what the outcome will be on Election Day.

“If you look at the increase in the number of voters, number of registrations … of those people the common sense tells you those new voters are going to be Democrats. If that’s the case, their overall numbers will increase substantially, but is it enough to overtake the Republican control?”

We should not draw conclusions from one day. But my observation yesterday was that Day One tends to set the tone for the week, and, well, no need to keep you in suspense. Here are the totals for Tuesday, and here are the daily totals from 2010, from 2014, and from 2016, as well as a spreadsheet with totals from 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. The running tallies:

Year    Mail    Early    Total
2010  25,725   53,496   79,221
2014  42,752   40,595   83,347
2018  53,947  127,969  181,916

2008  30,318   82,612  112,930
2012  44,093   98,671  142,764
2016  64,377  141,013  205,390

While the number of mail ballots returned dropped to a normal one-day number, the in person total was slightly higher on Tuesday than it was on Monday, which is to say basically what I suggested it would be, given past history. That could still drop, but as you can see right now we are not just turning out at a level far higher than past off years, we’re higher than two out of the last three Presidential years. At this pace, even if some two thirds to three quarters of the total vote is cast early, we’ll surpass a million voters in Harris County. If that happens, I’m thinking some pollsters may have to revisit their own turnout models.

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  1. Mike Engelhart says:

    If it’s even approaching a million voters, it’s a lopsided result for one particular side.

  2. I so wish I shared your implied confidence in a lopsided result. 2016 has made me gun shy and ruined any hope of me becoming a good hunting dog