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Early voting, Day 12: Final curtain

It was apparently a late night with long lines, and the report didn’t arrive by 10 PM, so you’ll have to settle for this.

When the polls closed in Harris County Friday, more voters had cast ballots than in any previous midterm election, positioning Harris County to surpass 1 million voters for the first time in a midterm election.

With a few voters still waiting in line to close out early voting, 849,406 residents had turned out, eclipsing even the tea party wave of 2010.

Friday — the 12th and final day of early balloting —saw a record 93,529 ballots cast in Harris County by 7:45 p.m. Voters faced long lines and parking woes, even as many wagered the wait on Tuesday would be worse with hundreds of thousands more voters on Election Day.

More than 4.3 million Texans have voted so far in the state’s 30 largest counties, just shy of the 4.7 million Texans who voted in the entire 2014 election.

Researchers said Democrats maintain a slight edge in Harris County that will likely grow on Election Day. The so-called Blue Wave here may not be enough to propel Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke to victory in the U.S. Senate race against GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, but could doom Republicans in local races.

The electorate that has turned out the past two weeks is younger, less Anglo and contains far more new or infrequent voters than normal midterms, factors that largely benefit Democrats.

“Republicans are very good at getting their voters to turn out,” said University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus. “If there are a bunch of voters who don’t typically vote in midterms but are now, it’s probably because they’re Democratic-leaning voters.”

I figured we’d get between 90K and 100K for Friday, and it seems I was right, though we don’t have the exact count yet. Until we do, here are the totals for Thursday, 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  52,112  392,536  462,527
2014  67,967  307,280  375,247
2018  85,665  670,212  755,877

2008  52,502  678,312  754,499
2012  66,310  700,216  766,526
2016  94,699  882,580  977,279

The 2018 figures are for Thursday, the rest are for the whole EV period of those years. I’ll post an updated table tomorrow. Just a reminder, these are total ballots cast, not how many votes any particular candidate received. The number of mail ballots will be higher in the final accounting because of ballots received between now and Tuesday.

UPDATE: Here are the Friday/final totals, from late last night. All in all, 855K people voted, which was about 96K from yesterday. I’ll have an updated table tomorrow.

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  1. Believe it or not there are tens of thousands of Democrats that are not adopting the concept of “out every Republican in office”, but opting instead to split their ticket on judicial seats,We will not see a Democrat sweep in Harris County Texas , i repeat,tell alot of the Democrat judicial candidates and the Democrat party ,Do not start bottle popping just yet,especially in the courthouse elections for Harris County Texas general election 2018.Joshua Ben Bullard

  2. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    People might split on Sarah Davis or Ed Emmitt, but Id be quite surprised if any GOP judicial candidate underperformed the Dem ticket by any more than 3 percent.

    In 2016, the Dems won the top of the ticket by 12.5 percent. If the total vote in Harris County is higher than 1.2 million, I think theyres gonna be a sweep. If total turnout is at that level, that means that even if every Trump and every Gary Johnson voter from 2016 showed up and voted for the GOP, that it still wouldnt be enough.
    Its possible that the GOP has either found more new Trump/GOP voters in Harris County than new Dem voters, or has converted a lot of Clinton voters to the GOP. I think thats unlikely.

    Its also true that people undervote, but I suspect that is going to largely be a wash.

    Sure, a few Dem leaning voters might know one judge or so, and cross over for that one judge, but I dont see any one judge who is gonna get more than a thousand or so votes that way. Also, the GOP, rather than the Dems, jad the nasty primary. Its just as likely that a GOP candidate might have defectors to the Dems.

    By the way, I think the GOP judges are in trouble at a total turnout well below 1.2 million. Where is the GOP finding new voters from 2016? The vote is almost certainly going to be higher than 1.05 million.

    We shall see on Tuesday.

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    Just out of curiosity you know this how?

    Granted there will be more votes at the top of the ticket, but how many Republicans are voting for Beto and then R judges? There will probably be quite a few of those.

    But let us come back on Wednesday and see who is right. I say all the Republican Judges will be voted out, just like in 2016.

  4. General Grant says:

    Based on prior years we know that there is a level of margin at the top of the ticket beyond which even the best downballot candidates will get drowned. Assuming for sake of argument a 12 point Dem victory for Beto, same as 2016 Hillary, we’ve never seen any kind of crossover like that. The only question is whether Ed Emmett survivors, and frankly even that is going to be really tough.

  5. Gary D says:

    I don’t think the GOP can save more than one or two Harris County office holders and likely none.