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November 2020 Early Voting Day Three: It’s still raining voters out there

People want to vote.

About 1.9 million Texans had cast ballots in-person or by mail as of Wednesday, according to state and county election data, continuing to crush state records for early voting.

The 2020 presidential election is expected to be one of the highest turnout elections in recent memory, with many ballots flooding in by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic. Texas surpassed 1.1 million ballots cast on the first day of early voting on Tuesday. Early voting will continue through Oct. 30 – six days longer than the usual two-week period because of the public health crisis.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The record-breaking tallies come amid multiple legal battles to expand voter access in Texas. The state is one of just five that do not allow voters to use the fear of the coronavirus as a reason to vote by mail, but all seniors ages 65 and older are automatically eligible for it.

Honestly, I believe that all of the blatant attempts to make it harder to vote are just pissing people off at this point, and we Dems were pretty damn mad to begin with. I understand why the Republicans are doing what they’re doing, but I think it will backfire on them – I think it already is backfiring on them. The thing is, most people actually want the voting process, which includes voter registration, to be easier and more convenient, for the simple reason that it’s good for them. You can fearmonger all you want about “fraud”, but people will like the experience, in the same way that they like same-day delivery for online shopping and home delivery for takeout. Who doesn’t like that kind of thing? Whatever electoral benefits there may be for the Republicans this year, it’s very much a long-term loser to oppose this stuff, at every turn and with complete vehemence.

Anyway, people are very much still voting in force in Harris County.

Harris County is on pace to welcome another 100,000 voters to its polls Thursday, continuing its record-breaking early voting turnout.

Roughly 80,000 people had cast their ballots as of 4 p.m. Thursday, according to the Harris County Clerk’s office, a rate of about 8,800 voters per hour. If that pace holds up through 7 p.m. when the polls close, the county would process another 106,000 or so ballots Thursday.

The tally was 128,186 on Tuesday and 114,996 Wednesday. More than a quarter million Harris County residents already have cast ballots, with more than two weeks of early voting remaining.

In 2016, the county fielded roughly 884,000 early votes.

We may surpass that number by early next week. I mean, at some point we will stop seeing such high daily totals, as we will literally run out of voters eventually, but with 2,468,559 total registered voters, the well is still pretty deep.

Let’s go back to what I said earlier about ease and convenience, because Harris County, under Judge Hidalgo and with Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia and of course County Clerk Chris Hollins, has done the work to make this all happen.

Elections matter, y’all. Here’s Judge Hidalgo on MSNBC talking about it.

Yesterday I got the first Derek Ryan email breaking down the statewide vote roster so far. A taste:

Through the first two days of early voting, nearly two million people have voted by mail or in person. That is roughly 10% of all registered voters in Texas. I say roughly because so many people registered to vote during the week before the registration deadline that we don’t know what the total number of registered voters in the state is.

Of all the people who have voted through the first two days of early voting, about 90% have previously voted in a General Election in Texas. What does this tell us? There are a lot of people eager to vote, but they aren’t necessarily “new” voters.

What else does the data tell us? Democrats are energized and ready to vote (but you didn’t necessarily need me to tell you that). For example, of all voters who have voted in all four of the last four Democratic Primaries, 40.6% have already voted early. Of all voters who have voted in all four of the last four Republican Primaries, 24.6% have voted early. It is worth noting that when everything is said and done, 95%+ of both of these groups will end having voted.

When reviewing the breakdown of early voters by age, please note that ballot by mail voters are nearly all age 65 or older. Because early voting has only been taking place for a few days, senior voters who voted by mail will skew the percentages. Their share of all votes cast will likely come down as we continue through early voting.

There’s more, and you can see his nice charts for the data. It remains the case that about 30% have no previous primary history, which includes the new voters.

While we are clearly seeing a ton of energy from the old faithfuls, especially on the Dem side, there are some advantages to that. One, that energy is contagious, and when people see that their friends have voted, they’re more likely to vote. Most importantly, it means the campaigns can concentrate their energy and resources on the lower-propensity folks, since they don’t have to spend nearly as much time contacting the regulars. Believe me, every Democratic candidate and campaign manager is happy with this.

There’s also one more thing, which hadn’t occurred to me before I saw this tweet:

I mean, if you’ve already voted, then there are no adverse conditions on Election Day that can stop you – bad weather, traffic problems, illness, electric outages, bear attack, whatever. These things do happen.

Anyway. Here are your Day One and Day Two numbers, and despite my previous mumblings about comparisons across years in this weird season, here’s an extension of what I did yesterday:


Year    Day One   Day Two Day Three    Total
============================================
2008     39,201    43,411    43,782  126,394
2012     47,093    51,578    52,051  150,722
2016     64,471    73,542    76,098  214,111
2018     63,188    64,781    62,476  190,445
2020    128,186   114,996   105,175  348,357

Year    Day One   Day Two Day Three    Total
============================================
2008     68,502    44,428    47,991  160,921
2012     87,679    55,105    53,744  196,528
2016    129,014    76,376    81,744  287,134
2018    115,601    66,315    64,035  245,951
2020    169,523   118,008   111,435  398,966

Top table is in person votes, bottom is all votes. The Day Three daily EV totals are here. You can find the daily totals for 2008 and 2012 (and 2016 as well, but I’ve got a separate link for it) here, for 2016 here, and for 2018 here. Note that we are now at 50,609 mail ballots returned, so basically at 2018 levels, with three more mail delivery days to come.

One last thing, as we await a final word on drive-through voting: A lot of people have used it. 32,509 votes have been cast by drive-through voters. I don’t know what the Supreme Court is gonna do with that mandamus petition, but the potential for them to wreak havoc is non-trivial.

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13 Comments

  1. ken roberts says:

    Extrapolating the pace of in-person Early Voting across all three weeks, over 84% of registered voters would have voted in-person by the end of EV.

    That is not sustainable, obviously. Only 61.33% of registered voters voted in 2016 by any method.

    I don’t know how many people will vote on Election Day. The in-person EV count on Day 3 is already higher than the Election Day total is going to be. It is just slightly under the 2016 Election Day count.

    It seems likely to be under 20% of votes cast will be on Election Day. I would not be shocked at something as low as 15%. It was 26.4% in 2016.

    Long lines are not going to be a problem on Election Day unless weather and technical problems combine. If it is Republicans that wait until the last two days of voting, they should be glad there is drive-thru voting to mitigate weather risk.

    Anyway, this is all encouraging. That all these votes came with only a few long lines is an impressive accomplishment.

  2. Jen says:

    And just think what an unholy mess this voting season would have been if Republicans had been in charge of voting this year.
    I agree with Kuff, the GOP doesn’t seem to understand the Law of Unintended Consequences. Again and again, short-sighted political maneuvers have blown up on them this year. People get really mad at those who deliberately make life hard for them. Vote them out!

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Overlooked here is the fact that it turns out going to vote in person is NOT going to kill you. I remember fondly back when we were promised that voting in person was a literal death sentence. Y’all remember? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

    In fact, I remember some spirited discussions here from the peanut gallery about mass voting by mail. So, which of you folks actually DID vote by mail after all?

    I voted in person on day two. Just checked this morning…..still alive. So far, so good.

  4. Jen says:

    Bill finally recognizes that Republicans are too stupid to be allowed to hold office any more, and is encouraging Democratic voters to the polls!

  5. ken roberts says:

    We don’t know that voting didn’t kill Bill Daniels, yet, and won’t know for a while. It’s highly unlikely.

    Voting in-person was among the 10 most risky things I’ve done thus far during the pandemic. I say this even though everyone else in line at my polling place had masks on and it took 10 minutes. I brought my own stylus and my skin didn’t touch anything there. Most of the things I did that were more risky involved doctors’ offices or giving blood/platelets.

    Due to the sheer number of voters and workers involved, there will be some people who contract COVID from voting in Harris County. I have no idea what the expected number of cases would be and whether more workers than voters would become ill. Fewer people will become ill due to all the precautions that were taken…especially the investment in massively expanding Early Voting locations.

    Allowing everyone to vote by mail and having a mail system that people trusted enough to use would have made things safer still, assuming similar precautions are used on the receiving and counting end.

    We won’t ever know the exact number of people who contract COVID directly or indirectly from voting. Hopefully, it remains negligible enough that we can’t even tell for certain that anyone did.

  6. Flypusher says:

    To be fair Jen, not all of them are stupid. Plenty of them are just dishonest.

  7. Jen says:

    Well, this begs the question, are GOP members who fail to speak out against stupid decisions by their Party leaders stupid? Let’s check it out–

    Potentially stupid decision #1– Oppose mask mandate, make mask wearing political.

    In this case Governor Greg Abbott, fearing a primary challenge and needing to go along with stupid rhetoric from Trump, decrees local mask mandates invalid. To cite one instance, a recent study shows airplane travel is relatively safe if *everyone* wears a mask.

    Conclusion: Stupid decision. Made epidemic far worse. Not one Republican leader or office holder opposed Trump or Abbott on this issue. Democratic leaders were !00% correct.

    Potentially stupid decision #2– Reopening too early

    Again Democratic leaders opposed this, saying it was too soon. Abbott, under pressure from Trump and trying to look like a hero to the GOP, reopened anyway. As we know, this went bad almost immediately, causing cases to skyrocket and killing thousands of beloved persons for no good reason.

    Conclusion: Criminally stupid decision. Not one GOP leader opposed this.

    Now the Republicans are facing what are likely huge election losses. If common sense mask mandates had been allowed and we had waited until the virus was truly under control to reopen, like Democrats wanted, we would all be mostly back to normal right now, and the Republicans would not be in deep shit like they most certainly are.

    I am fine with calling them all stupid.

  8. Lobo says:

    Kudos to Jen. That’s not just gratuitous name-calling. The conclusion is supported by valid arguments/evidence, and the focus is on the act(s), rather than the actor (ergo, not ad hominem).

  9. Jen says:

    Thank*you. It is really too bad that most of the people in Texas who are responsible for this preventable disaster are not on the ballot this year. After all they have wrecked a healthy economy, including permanent closure of numerous small businesses, ruined many many lives, killed over 17,000 people, and done more damage to the state of Texas than any government in history. If that isn’t enough to cost you your job, what is?

    There are at least some people we can get rid of this year, like Dan Crenshaw and Sarah Davis, who didn’t stand up for the people they represent, and a number of Texas Supreme Court Justices as well as the Chief Justice. Remember, this is our Supreme Court whose Justices are deciding election issues when they themselves are on the ballot, with no recusals. The same ones who are making it more difficult for you to vote, and to vote safely. Time to thrown them out!

  10. Manny says:

    Jen for governor

  11. Jen says:

    lol- I think you misspelled ‘Lina’

  12. Manny says:

    Hoping Beto runs for governor

  13. […] Anyway, this is the post where we talk early voting numbers, so let’s do that. The Day Nine daily EV totals are here. You can find the daily totals for 2008 and 2012 (and 2016 as well, but I’ve got a separate link for it) here, for 2016 here, and for 2018 here. I’m just going to keep on keeping on with the pretense that early voting actually began this Monday, except with 628K votes already in the bank. The “original” Day Three numbers are here. […]