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.
We’re seeing record turnout in Harris County following a record investment in voter access by Judge Hidalgo and Commissioners. See how those funds were invested and how voters are making history.
— Office of Judge Lina Hidalgo (@HarrisCoJudge) 6:14 PM – 15 October 2020
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:
If anything, I think analysts tend to underrate the chances *Republicans* will be the ones disproportionately facing long lines/polling place chaos come 11/3.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) 6:32 PM – 15 October 2020
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.
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.