And we’re off, with a few concerns about aftereffects of Harvey.
Hurricane Harvey may loom large in many Houston-area residents’ minds, but the storm is expected to have a limited impact on participation in the Texas primary, which kicks off Tuesday with the start of early voting.
Nearly two weeks of early balloting precedes the Lone Star State’s March 6 primary, the first in the nation.
“On one hand, we’re going to see a decline in turnout among some individuals who are displaced. On the other hand, I think there are some people who will counterbalance that decline because they’ve become more politically active and aware as a result of Harvey,” Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said. “The net effect is likely to be pretty neutral.”
Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, whose office administers local elections, agreed.
“If it does, it’s going to be so small you won’t be able to measure it,” Stanart said. “Your primary voters are your core voters, your most loyal of voters, so those people tend to vote no matter what’s happening. So, I don’t anticipate much disruption in their voting patterns.”
I think turnout is going to be up due to a higher level of engagement this year, but we’ll soon see. It will be interesting to track the vote by State Rep district, to see how things may have changed from previous years.
Year Party Mail In Person Total ===================================== 2010 Dem 2,886 2,190 5,076 2010 Rep 5,946 2,774 8,720 2014 Dem 2,080 1,276 3,356 2014 Rep 9,048 2,807 11,855 2018 Dem 4,174 3,833 8,007 2018 Rep 6,138 3,509 9,646
So more Dems voted in person, but more Republicans voted overall because of more mail ballots being returned. Note, however, that more mail ballots were sent to Democratic voters (30,072) than to Republican voters (29,566), which is a big change from 2014. It’s one day and there’s a long way to go, but this is a strong start. I’ll keep an eye on this as we go. When do you plan to vote?