Well over half a million people in Dallas County have voted since Oct. 13, breaking the county’s early voting record set four years ago.
According to the Texas Secretary of State, 563,148 votes had been cast in Dallas County between in-person voters and mailed-in ballots as of Friday. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Saturday, an additional 18,109 voted by the early afternoon bringing the Saturday count to at least 581,626 when mailed-in ballots are added.
Dallas resident Adam Womble was among those who voted at the American Airlines Center on Saturday. From start to finish, Womble said it took about seven minutes.
“Most of that was me deliberating candidates,” Womble said. “Vote your conscience and do your civic duty. It’s important no matter what your opinion is, you participate in the process of government because then you’re not only representing yourself uniquely but often others.”
Suraen Jothiratnam of Dallas said he typically votes on Election Day but chose to vote early this year.
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“I really wanted my vote to count this time. I didn’t want to wait until the last day,” Jothiratnam said. “Do your part, you know? Yes, it takes a little bit of time out of your day to do it, but this is part of our civic duty and this is the least we can do.”
Dallas County joins other nearby counties in record-breaking early voting numbers. Collin and Denton counties have reported at least 311,000 and 294,024 so far, respectively.
Tarrant County has not yet surpassed its 2016 early voting total, according to county officials. As of Saturday evening, the county reported 463,335 ballots cast. The total four years ago was 480,000, according to a county spokesperson.
In an interview Friday with NBC 5, Tarrant County elections administrator Heider Garcia said the early voting count could surpass 500,000 by the end of the weekend.
Dr. Kimi King, a professor of American Government and U.S. Constitutional Law, at the University of North Texas in Denton said the high turnout is not surprising.
“I believe that for the first time, I truly feel like there is this belief that your vote does matter and your vote does count,” Dr. King said.
Early Voting Wait Times
- Dallas County voting location wait times (green <15 minutes; yellow 15-30; red >30)
- Collin County voting location wait times (green <20 minutes; yellow 20-40; red >40)
- Tarrant County voting location wait times (green <29 minutes; yellow 30-44 minutes; orange 45-59 minutes; red >60 minutes; blue means no data available.)
- Denton County does not report wait times.
Voting locations are open at different times on different days. Click here to see a schedule by county. Anyone standing in line at when the polling location closes will be allowed to vote.
Something that has stood out to political scientists this year is that many voters’ minds were made up over the summer with the fall only solidifying their votes, King said.
“Right now, what you’re seeing with voter turnout tends to be democratic. The democrats are clearly outpacing Republicans across the country in terms of both early voter turnout as well as mail-in ballots,” she explained. “For Republicans, where they’re looking at is to make up the deficit in voters. They need to be watching this concern about meeting that 2 to 1 margin.”
Another trend she has noticed is the rise in registrations of voters aged 40 and older.
“Many people are looking at them, because they’re not as reliable of a vote,” she said. “Those younger voters, they tend to know which way they’re going and how they vote on issues but those 40 and older voters, then it gets complicated. Are we talking about white, suburban women? Are we talking about a more elderly population that at one time, felt like they supported President Trump and no longer do because of the healthcare concerns that seniors are facing?”
Overall, Texas has already cast nearly 7 million votes – more than anywhere in America, according to Associated Press.
Early voting continues through Oct. 30. Polls are open 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.