Randy McIlwain, NBC 5
As early voting begins in Dallas County, many voters are surprised by the crowds waiting to cast their ballots.
Though Election Day is still two weeks away, voters began heading to the polls Monday for early voting.
Voters who bring their registration cards do not need photo identification.
Paul Reed, of Fort Worth, was the first person in line at the Tarrant County Election Center.
"I just wanted to get it out of the way before the crowd gets here," he said. "I never dreamed I'd be first."
He will not be the last. In Tarrant County, the people who voted early in the 2008 general election outnumbered Election Day voters by more than 2-to-1, according to county statistics.
On Monday, more than 32,000 people early voted in Dallas County.
Early voting in Texas runs from Monday through Nov. 2. Election Day is Nov. 6.
A record 13.64 million Texans are registered to vote, according to the Texas Secretary of State's Office.
The man in charge of Tarrant County's elections told NBC 5 that if voters have already made up their minds, it would be smart to cast their ballot early.
"Early voting is so convenient," Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said. "You can go to any early voting site in the county where you're registered to vote. And it's so convenient -- you're not tied down to one particular location like you are on Election Day."
Raborn said his staff is prepared for heavy turnouts, especially as the deadline approaches.
There is not expected to be much suspense in the votes for president and U.S. Senate. Republicans Gov. Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz are heavily favored to win the state.
But important contests abound down the ballot.
A huge swath of the state stretching from San Antonio to just outside El Paso will decide an important contest for the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican U.S. Rep. Quico Canseco is trying to hold onto his seat against Democratic State Rep. Pete Gallego.
South of Houston, voters are choosing a successor to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
An all-time high of 13.64 million Texans are registered to vote.
NBC 5's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.
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