Day 1 early voting totals: Like three days in one

Monday was busy.

Harris County residents on Monday set a new record for the first day of early voting in a midterm election, as 63,188 went to the polls to cast ballots.

The turnout smashed the previous mark, set in 2010, by more than 35,000 votes, and came on the same day both major party candidates for the U.S. Senate, Gov. Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump campaigned in downtown Houston.

An additional 52,413 voters have returned mail-in ballots, bringing the total figure to date to 115, 601.

Harris County’s tally eclipsed the first-day total in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, even though midterms typically draw far fewer voters. Fort Bend and Montgomery counties experienced similar surges.

“There are just incredible numbers of turnout today,” Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart said. “Lines are moving, they’re getting to vote, and they’re getting on their way.”

The crowds at the polls signal voters are enthusiastic, said University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus, but which political party benefits remains to be seen. He said an increase in voter turnout usually boosts Democrats, but the early voting surge simply could show that more voters are choosing to avoid the hassles voting on Election Day can bring.

“Historically, turnout on the first day tends to be exaggerated,” Rottinghaus said. “It’s impossible to know which party faithful are voting, or if it’s a surge in people who traditionally don’t vote.”

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. You want to see the first day totals in a nice, convenient table form, right? I aim to please:

Year    Mail    Early    Total
2010  24,273   26,051   50,324
2014  41,520   20,215   61,735
2018  52,413   63,188  115,601

2008  29,301   39,201   68,502
2012  40,566   47,093   87,659
2016  61,543   67,471  129,014

Monday’s total didn’t just exceed the day one totals from 2010 and 2014, it was more than the totals through Wednesday for those years. Other counties were super busy as well, though I haven’t had a chance to look around for more stories yet. While 2010 certainly stands as a good example of high turnout not being good for Democrats, I will dispute both of the things Prof. Rottinghaus said in that last paragraph. If you look at all the previous years, the number of mail ballots received drops by a lot after day one (since the day one total covers everything received to that date), but the number of in person voters generally stays around the same through the end of the week. Also, while you can’t tell from the numbers I get and publish, the names and voting histories of everyone who votes is available to anyone who wants it (for a small fee), so someone with that data can in fact tell what the likely partisan mix is and who are new voters versus old faithfuls. I expect to get information about that as we go. I do think that a lot of people sprinted to the starting line, but if the usual patterns hold, we are going to be seeing a lot of voters who don’t have a non-Presidential history. But every year tends to bring surprises, so we’ll see what this one has in store for us.

UPDATE: Forgot to actually share the file from Monday. It’s here.

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7 Responses to Day 1 early voting totals: Like three days in one

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    Based on first day of voting the Latino vote is higher. Ripley House, HCC, and Moody saw much larger numbers of early voters. That bodes well for Garcia and the Democrats.

    Bill not only did I go knock at doors, I sent out a letter to all the Spanish surname citizens in my neighborhood. Told them how if we don’t vote straight Democrat that Trump and the Republicans could put Mexican looking citizens in trains and buses and send us to Mexico. They did it in the 1930s and the 1950s to millions of US Citizens because of the color of their skin.

  2. Mainstream says:

    I don’t know who exaggerates more, Trump or Manny Barrera. “Millions” of Hispanic US citizens were sent to Mexico in the 1930s and 1950s? Where is that documented in history?

    And I would not assume that the uptick in voting at Moody Park and other sites necessarily reflects Latino voting, since many of those areas have huge numbers of new expensive townhomes filled by Anglo young downtown workers.

  3. Jules says:

    Mainstream, on the internet. Try “google”.

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    If you were half as smart as you think you are Mainstream, you would know that it is documented in history. Ignorance is not something that most people brag about like you do.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Unlike Trump that you adore or at least wear the R label while remaining silent about his outrageous lies, I very seldom resort to fabrication of facts.

    In fact while it is just beginning with the racist Trump and his loyal gestapo they have already deported some US citizens.

    So Mainstream go hide your hideous racist head where it belongs.

  6. Manny Barrera says:

    Thank you Jules, what I stated can easily be verified in internet. But I knew about it before Gore created the internet. That is a joke about Gore.

    Native Americans were also sold as slaves, that is not found in most American History books either. But like me they have high cheek bones and brown skin. White people in what is the United States and Canada probably slaughtered or killed more people in history than any other so called “civilized” people, but the brown skin folks were the barbarians.

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