First, some important news:
Houston residents have one month left to register to vote in November’s City Hall elections.
Residents can visit various Harris County government offices, post offices, libraries or state agencies to fill out and submit a completed application form. You can also email [email protected] to receive a registration application in the mail, or call 713-274-8200 for help.
You’ll need to list your name, Harris County address, date of birth, citizenship status and your driver’s license number or another form of identification, such as a Texas identification card or the last four digits of your social security number.
Voters can check their registration status on the county’s website or with the Secretary of State. The deadline is Oct. 10. If you postmark an application on Oct. 10, you still will be able to vote even if the application does not reach the county on that day.
Early voting begins Oct. 23 and will continue through Nov. 3. Voters have until Oct. 27 to request a mail ballot, and must provide a reason, such as being over 65 years old or disabled. Election day is Nov. 7.
Just a reminder, if you were registered to vote last November and you haven’t moved, you’re fine. If you did move, go now and update your registration. If you’ve got a kid in college and want them to vote in November, either have them come home to do it if they’re within a reasonable drive, or get started on the work to get them an absentee ballot now. They have to fill out the form to request the ballot, then request it, and it all has to be done via US Mail. Don’t wait.
As a reminder, when talking about turnout in this year’s election, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a lot more registered voters in Houston now compared to 2015, the last time we had an open seat Mayor’s race. That by itself should result in an increase in total turnout – not turnout as a percentage of registered voters necessarily, just an increase in the total number of people casting a ballot. It will not shock me if we top the 2003 high water mark for turnout just based on that. Not a guarantee, of course, but a distinct possibility.
Finally, I found my long-ago post about the relative ages of city voters. Here’s the original post, and here’s the post I had stumbled across that led me to it. The original also contains data for the much youth-friendlier years of 2010 and 2014. My data might have come in handy for the reporter who wrote the story referenced in this post, though note that story refers to voters over the age of 65, while I discussed voters over the age of 60. The point remains that in the last few elections conducted before Houston shifted to four-year terms, about 70% of voters in those elections were fifty or older, while about five or six percent were under 30. I don’t know if that has changed for the two elections since, but since 2015 was still on that cycle and 2019 was a weird year for multiple reasons, I would not make any inferences about trends. I’ll see what I can do about getting the data for the 2015, 2019, and 2023 elections after this one is over, and we’ll go from there.