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Here’s How Early Voting Has Gone In Texas So Far

It’s early on in the voting process, but there’s a lot happening here nonetheless.

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(Photo by Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

Early voting began in Texas on Monday, and the turnout has been massive. First-day voting records have been broken in Travis, Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Hidalgo, and other counties. And the totals aren’t just barely topping past years: in Travis County voter turnout more than doubled 2012 numbers, while in Dallas there was an 80 percent increase over 2012. Harris and Hidalgo Counties saw a 40 percent spike over the last presidential election, Tarrant County had a 30 percent jump, and Bexar County had a more modest 15 percent increase.

But when we’re talking about voter turnout in Texas, the fact that a 15 percent increase feels modest speaks to how unprecedented the 2016 election is. Voter turnout in Texas has long lagged behind much of the U.S., a trend that continued right up until the primary election in March, when we came in forty-second among the states. It’s still very early in the voting process, so it’s hard to read too much into what these numbers mean going forward for the overall turnout. But what we’ve seen thus far indicates that there could be a spike in overall civic engagement in the state.

The increased turnout shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise though. Although a lot has been made of the enthusiasm gap that both presidential candidates face among their parties, at least compared to candidates like Barack Obama and George W. Bush, this election has been the most ubiquitous reality show the nation has ever experienced. Increased interest in an election tends to ultimately result in increased turnout, even if people aren’t as excited about a particular candidate.

Digging further into the numbers, it seems as though the long-whispered awakening of Texas Democrats happened, at the very least, on day one. GOP consultant Derek Ryan, who published a detailed report on the affiliations of Texas’s early voters, examined the voting history of Monday’s voters, and what he found was notable. Of the votes cast, 36.8 percent of them were from people who had previously voted in the Republican primary, while 32.8 percent of them had voted in the Democratic primary. The rest were split between people who had previously voted in general presidential elections but not party primaries (22.3 percent) and those with no election history whatsoever (8.1 percent).

We don’t know how those voters with history in party primaries are inclined to vote in the general election, but the mere fact that the numbers for Republicans and Democrats are only four points away from one another is significant in and of itself. As our own Erica Greider pointed out on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, Republican primary voters outnumbered Democratic primary voters by a whopping 2:1 margin. So on day one of early voting, a whole lot more of the Democrats who voted in the primaries felt the need to rush to the polls than the Republicans did.

There are other things we can glean from the early voting totals. The gender split here is vast: At least 54 percent of voters on Monday were women, while men made up 42.2 percent of the day’s electorate (the other 3.8 percent are unknown). That could be tricky for Trump, as Nate Silver’s imagined women-only electoral map analysis pointed out—Trump’s biggest base of support comes from men, and if men aren’t casting ballots at the same rate as women, he may have a lot of ground to make up.

And ultimately, all of this analysis is moot if the turnout numbers level off by the end of the week. It’s possible that we’re mostly going to see the same people vote in 2016 as we did in 2012. If that’s the case, the 8.1 percent of voters who haven’t previously cast general election ballots will be notable, but probably not significant enough to tilt the election.

All of which is to say that there’s a lot worth watching in the early voting totals coming out of Texas, but it’s way too early to draw any real conclusions. If the numbers we saw on Monday hold through the entire period, though, Texas is going to be very interesting in the 2016 electoral map.

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  • Colleen Lott Wehr

    let’s hope they have the machines calibrated correctly now. – earlier there were reports of votes changing when voting straight ticket – please be sure to REVIEW your vote before submitting

    • Jed

      rigged, i tell you!

      • Sally

        It’s total B.S. because for sure it’s rigged! We will have 4 more years of the Clinton cartel!

        • Jed

          for sure.

          • Tejasguitarman

            OK you two. Your cages have been cleaned so you can get back in them now.

          • Jed
          • silentnonrev

            Let’s hope it’s 8. Then Michelle

        • Bigal

          From your lips to God’s ear, we can only hope and pray for President Hillary.

      • Phillip Sanders

        Rigged in a state, Texas that is controlled by Republicans? Get your head out of the sand. Don’t be an idiot in the voting booth and there won’t be any “human” errors. For God’s sake, read the directions.

        • Jed
        • Doodlebug

          Don’t be an idiot yourself, there is proof that some machines are not functioning properly…requiring more than one official to help and “fix” the problem.

        • Lou Palumbo

          Yea, those pesky “republicans” that Hillary and her Campaign were proudly stating weren’t backing their own candidate. Those Republicans?

          Check the latest new articles where people are voting straight Republican, but the machines are checking Hillary Clinton in the presidential race for them.

          Get your head out of the sand for a minute and ask yourself why the powers at be don’t want Trump in the white house? Perhaps those promises of “term limits” and clean up of corruption in Washington may have something to do with it.

          • Jed

            “Check the latest new articles where people are voting straight Republican, but the machines are checking Hillary Clinton in the presidential race for them.”

            can you point to one?

    • ClaudeHenrySmoot

      Fact check your facebook news feed please.

      http://www.snopes.com/texas-vote-switching/

      • Jed

        here is the money paragraph:

        “The starting point of the rumor was not clear (many different Texas cities have been cited in otherwise identical versions of the rumor), but a number of inquiries mentioned the City of Arlington as the purportedly affected jurisdiction. We contacted Tarrant County and spoke with an elections official there who told us the rumor was not new, as every election brings along with it claims of “vote switching.” She stated that in all instances where machine or voting equipment malfunctions are reported, a technician physically investigates the machine involved in an attempt to replicate the error (adding that the county has never successfully managed to reproduce a switched vote). The representative stated that someone from the county spoke with the claimant on 24 October 2016 after the machine she had used was tested by a technician. The representative asked the woman whether it was possible she inadvertently hit “enter” using a scroll wheel, and the woman said she might have in fact accidentally selected the wrong candidates herself. But the machine the woman used was found to be properly calibrated and working correctly.”

    • EConga

      BS There was a computer power supply problem at one place. They halted voting for the day so it could be fixed. Problem has been fixed and they are back in business today.

    • Wurty

      I reviewed 3 times. Good advice. Go out and vote everyone. Keep Texas RED.

  • Doodlebug

    Don’t just assume it is voter error…..I know personnaly of two instances where there were problems with the machines……even after election officials were brought in to help……one of which required two separate officials before it was corrected, in the other the machine kept skipping the vote to the next candidate. In the first account they were voting straight ticket and in the other they were voting individual candidates…..these were in Arlington and Quitman….

    • Jed

      did you/they document?

      • Doodlebug

        Don’t know if they did…..but I do know based on their telling me that they reported it to the election officials because they required help in getting it straightened out. Also, since I first posted my comment I have been to vote and three of the officials there told us multiple times to double check how we voted before pressing the final vote button. In addition to the persons I mentioned before as having problems my daughter has a friend in the Houston area that had a problem when the voted……these are all verbal accounts of personal friends.

        • Scotty

          The officials probably took one look at you and thought you needed some extra instruction on how to vote. It’s worked the same way for decades and you should always double check the ballot before you press the vote button because that means you’re voting.

          Duh.

          • Doodlebug

            Duh, they were giving the same instructions to everyone in line……
            I have voted many, many times over the course of my lifetime. Some were paper ballots, some were electronic and I have ALWAYS read over and double checked my vote…..
            What is up with being so snarky?

    • ClaudeHenrySmoot
      • Doodlebug

        Mr. Smoot, please see my response to Jed…..and by the way Snopes has been found to be inaccurate and at times very left wing supportive in their “investigations”. I repeat for your edification my accounts are from first person dialogues and not from “she knows someone who knows someone who might have heard/ said or something or other about such and such but maybe not, but it could have been a guy whose second cousin removed once heard a story about a thing, like, you know……get it? First person accounts hold more water than second hand reporting from opionists who claim to be journalists.

        • Jed

          hearsay is hearsay. first, second, or third hand.

          and nothing in the comments section of the internet holds more water than journalists.

          especially if it’s coming from someone whose friends can’t operate a voting machine.

          • Doodlebug

            What a nasty little troll you are.

          • Jed

            at least my vote counted.

          • Doodlebug

            My vote counted as well….. So did all the others…..what’s your point?

          • Jed

            well then what are you complaining about?

            meanwhile, in the real world, *here* is how the election is being rigged in texas:

            http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-election-day/election-2016-tracking-reports-voting-problems-across-united-states-n673236

            “Poll-workers and flyers in some Texas counties have incorrectly told voters they need a photo ID to cast a ballot, voting rights advocates say.

            The claims add to concerns that Texas is failing to fully implement a federal court ruling that substantially loosened the state’s ID law.

            The Texas Civil Rights Project has been compiling reports of irregularities in early voting in the Lone Star State, which began Monday. According to the group:

            At least two counties, Bexar and Denton, posted outdated flyers which inaccurately tell voters that photo ID is required.
            A voter in Denton County reported being turned away for lack of a photo ID.
            At at least two sites in Houston, voters said poll workers incorrectly told them they needed ID.
            In Denton County, an armed patrol person was seen talking to voters waiting in line.
            Alicia Pierce, a spokeswoman for Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, said that in response to the complaints, her office had sent a reminder to counties to use updated flyers, which correctly inform voters that they can vote without photo ID if they sign an affidavit swearing to their identity.

            “Clearly it’s mistakes when this has happened,” said Pierce. “No one’s doing this intentionally.”

            But the reports follow weeks in which Texas has appeared to drag its feet in implementing the federal court ruling. Last month the court found that the state used misleading language in describing the new rules and ordered the state to change it. And it found an earlier public education campaign about the ID law to be “woefully inadequate.””

            ps – no mention of people in arlington who can’t click a single button correctly.

          • Doodlebug

            It must be that we are reading liberal vs conservative sites as I have just read more accounts of this happening. Arlington and Amarillo specifically.

            As with some others I have encountered on these threads I feel you will “argue” all night and never admit these things may be happening. You will also call people names whom you have never met nor are you likely ever to meet and yet you will assert your superiority in all matters and condemn those who disagree with your opinions.

            I bid you a good evening.

          • Jed

            look, i am sorry this is hard for you, but the complaint is old, recycled, and debunked. this has been going on for a couple decades, ever since these machines came into widespread use.

            but the funny thing is, i am pretty sure i’ve never heard a democrat complain about it. it’s always a close friend of a republican from some other city in texas who tried to vote straight ticket republican and failed. either that means you are right, and all the news outlets wrong, or you can fill in your own insult here.

            if there really were an effort to steal the election (and i am not saying there isn’t), don’t you think they would have figured out a way to change votes *without* letting your cousin Eurethra notice? that is most glaringly obvious problem with your theory.

            here is the bottom line: when the elections *are* being stolen (possibly already), you won’t see evidence of it right there on the screen.

          • Doodlebug

            This isn’t hard for me Jed. I was only reporting what I have been told first hand. I’m sorry it is hard for you to not accept that this is actually happening.

            I don’t disagree that there are far more subtle underhanded ways to fix an election but I disagree with your premise that it is a theory of mine since a theory is not a theory once it has been proven. Since it has been proven that there are some problems with some machines it makes it a fact, not a theory. I never said the dems were trying to rig the vote merely that people were reporting problems.

            Not all the news outlets are reporting that there are no problems, only the ones you read.

            My CPA was not voting straight ticket and he had problems with the machine, that’s a fact not a conspiracy theory.

            Goodnight.

          • Jed

            “people having problems with the machines” has been proven. we agree on that.

            (not sure we agree on the definitions of fact, theory, proven, problems, reporting, or news outlets. but in the interest of collegiality i’ll buy the claim en toto.)

          • Doodlebug

            SkyNet appreciates your stance. 🙂

          • Montecristo

            you’re a desperate troll and we pity you

          • Jed

            why not pray for me while you’re at it?

        • silentnonrev

          “Left wing supportive” = “reports the facts”

          Cling to your myths & magical thinking if you want. Hope you have good dental insurance to help you with 8 years of teeth gnashing under Madam President Clinton

      • Montecristo

        Snopes is bullshit. they have been discredited doofus

    • Jed

      here is the key paragraph:

      “The starting point of the rumor was not clear (many different Texas cities have been cited in otherwise identical versions of the rumor), but a number of inquiries mentioned the City of Arlington as the purportedly affected jurisdiction. We contacted Tarrant County and spoke with an elections official there who told us the rumor was not new, as every election brings along with it claims of “vote switching.” She stated that in all instances where machine or voting equipment malfunctions are reported, a technician physically investigates the machine involved in an attempt to replicate the error (adding that the county has never successfully managed to reproduce a switched vote). The representative stated that someone from the county spoke with the claimant on 24 October 2016 after the machine she had used was tested by a technician. The representative asked the woman whether it was possible she inadvertently hit “enter” using a scroll wheel, and the woman said she might have in fact accidentally selected the wrong candidates herself. But the machine the woman used was found to be properly calibrated and working correctly.”

      • Doodlebug

        Jed…..here is MY key response……the reports I gave are first hand knowledge, not hearsay…..get it?

        • Jed

          yes, i get that your friends had trouble voting.

          i mean, buttons AND a dial? come on, right? that’s crazy hard.

          maybe their second voting experience will go better.

          • Doodlebug

            well, allow me to bow to your superior intellect…….evidently you are much smarter than any of my friends…..albeit they are CPAs, RNs, plant managers, Human Resource directors, etc….arrogance is not becoming to you…..

          • Jed

            “.albeit they are CPAs, RNs, plant managers, Human Resource directors, etc…”

            which of these people had trouble voting?

          • Montecristo

            Jed has trouble with comprehension. Don’t waste your time on him

          • Doodlebug

            I looked up his profile. He is disdainful to pretty much everyone. Some people seem to think they are superior to everyone else, you know, he’s a legend in his own mind.

          • Pamela

            You are going to have to post a lot more to earn your fifty cents. Good luck!

        • Scotty

          Hearsay;

          “information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate; rumor.”

          In this example, YOU would be the ‘other people’ and the information you’re spouting off is hearsay. It may not seem like hearsay to you, but by definition it is hearsay to everyone else.

          And just for good measure………I’ll pepper my comment……with weird little series of periods…..for some reason. You should look up the word ‘ellipsis’ after you finish with ‘hearsay’.

          • Doodlebug

            As is all reporting by your definition.

            I humbly apologize for disrupting your reading pattern. My ellipsis were for emphasis only.

            Sorry for the inconvenience I have caused your otherwise perfect life.

          • Pamela

            Don’t bother answering the trolls. They pivot beautifully. Their definition (in this forum) of hearsay is, indeed, what journalists do. Besides, hearsay is a strict legal term not appropriate in news gathering which, of course, needs sourcing in the reporter’s notes.
            Jed is inferring that snopes and MSM is more credible than your investigation of a faulty vote event as related to you by the person who allegedly experienced it. And for good measure for the condescending nitpicker: ……..((((((()))))))………..

          • Doodlebug

            Thank you for your support. Sometimes I try to start a meaningful conversation and be fair to the trolls but they are so used to their mommies constantly telling them how precious and wonderful,they are that they just can’t abide anyone disagreeing with them. I imagine most of them have bookcases full of “participation ribbons” but not too many real trophies.

          • Jed

            but who is still here stirring the pot, after we both cleared the air 2 days ago?

          • Doodlebug

            I was responding to someone else here but I think you took personal offense, perhaps proving my point. No ribbon for you today.

            I have been posting for years on various sites and will continue to do so. I have no axe to grind but like you have an opinion and express it.

          • Pamela

            TM has a staff that keeps picking away so they can send out “find an interesting discussion on TM” email lists. If you notice, most of their stories get 3-6 comments, all self-congratulatory in their efforts to create stupid bon mots.

          • Doodlebug

            Yes indeed I have noticed the relatively small number of comments. I only recently started reading the daily shorts that TM sends out and am new to their forums. I do find that there are always a few posters very full of themselves and their own opinions. These posters very often resort to name calling, cursing and belittling of those who do not agree with them.

          • Jed

            she didn’t experience it. she told us she knew somebody who did.

            and i didn’t cite snopes, i cited texas monthly. the magazine whose website you are commenting on.

            or is that all nitpicking?

            (it might be nitpicking to explain to you the difference between infer and imply, so i won’t.)

          • Pamela

            Jed.
            …………….((((((())))))))…………
            You are so brilliant I know you can read between the lines.