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Five things to know about the Texas early voting rush

October 29, 2018 GMT

An unprecedented number of voters in Texas cast their ballots during the first week of early voting, smashing early voting records in counties across the state.

In six days, early vote surpassed 2014 mark: In the top 15 most populous counties in Texas, 2,114,761 voters cast in-person ballots and 250,230 cast mail-in ballots through Saturday, in the first six days of early voting. That is already higher than early voting totals in the top 15 counties during the entire early voting period in the 2014 midterms — with a week of early voting left.

Turnout hits 20 percent in four metro counties: Through the first six days of the 12-day early voting period, 468,549 voters cast their ballots in Harris County, 226,845 cast ballots in Bexar County, 203,582 cast ballots in Travis County and 307,342 cast ballots in Dallas County, bringing voter turnout in each county to 20 percent or more.

Surge includes counties from across Texas: The high turnout was mirrored across the state. Of over 12.2 million registered voters in the top 30 most populous counties, 22.95 percent cast their ballots as of Saturday.

Like a presidential election: Voter turnout is typically higher during presidential elections. An average of about 1.5 million people in Texas have cast ballots in each presidential election since 2000, compared to an average of 591,649 voters in each midterm election since 2000. But the number of voters participating in this election is more similar to the 2016 presidential election than any midterm since 2000, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Jump in voter registrations fuels surge: The trend-breaking numbers began last month when Texas voter rolls grew to over 15.6 million people, Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said. That’s a jump of 1.6 million voters since the last midterm election in 2014.

Early voting ends Friday, Nov. 2, and Election Day is Nov. 6.