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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Is Anybody Voting *on* Election Day?

Harris County saw nearly 40,000 registered voters vote on the first day of early voting — and then saw that number go up for both Tuesday and Wednesday. Dallas County saw the early voting numbers hit 10% of all registered voters by the end of Wednesday. Which is apparently typical — the Secretary of State reports that over 10% of registered voters in the state of Texas had voted in person or by mail by Wednesday evening. At this rate, we'll have hit 40% turnout by the time early voting ends.

I know, I know, that's not particularly likely — but wouldn't it be nice?

Either way, it can hardly be argued that we're seeing unprecedented turnout this year. And it's also a pretty safe bet that high turnout favors Democrats this year. What — don't believe me? Well, it just so happens that Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report got it from a reliable Republican source that analysis matching early voter rolls to prior primary participation indicates that Democrats have been outvoting Republicans by about 2.5 to 1 in early voting. If that's not Democratic excitement bearing fruit, I don't know what is.

Now's when it counts, folks. We have a real shot at shifting some seats in the Lege, and even some statewide seats, from red to blue that even two months ago would've seemed like wishful thinking. Keep the wave going — I'm sure those of you reading this have voted already (right?), but has your family? Have your friends? Make some phone calls and get out that vote. This is our best chance in a long time to effect some real change here in Texas; who knows when we'll next have an opportunity like this?

Already called all your relatives and friends? There are plenty of other people that need to be reminded to go to the polls. Contact your county party or your favorite local campaign for volunteer opportunities. Don't know who or where they are? Contact us and we'll get you in touch with somebody.

Remember: The one way you can legally vote more than once is to get everyone you know to vote as well. You can amplify your vote tenfold in a day by getting out the Democratic vote in your area. And we're going to need every vote we can get to get good Democrats into important seats so we can turn Texas blue. We've got the opportunity. Now all we need is the action.

Different factors

The EV numbers are huge everywhere, but it's impossible to tell what that means. Are more people voting this year? Are people voting early instead of election day? Are early voters voting in the first week instead of the second? All three?

History is a rotten guide, since habits change over time. In 2004, we got all excited by the early vote numbers and expected a huge turnout, only to be disappointed on election day. (Overall turnout was still good, but not nearly as good as we'd hoped.) This year I'm guessing that both total turnout and early vote will be up from 2004, but not by nearly as much as the first few days suggest.

ten gets ya twenty

A pretty safe bet, as turnout is always disproportionately high in the first few days.

In 2004 we saw that early voting was dramatically higher, but total voting was up much less, as you note. I thought that a pretty clear indicator of the polarization of the parties that the Bush administration had brought about -- after all, early voters are those who have made up their minds already; undecideds wait until Election Day.

That is probably also the case this time — total voting will not scale linearly with the early voting increases we're seeing. That is to be expected. All the more reason to get out more votes! :-)

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