What's Behind Large Early Voting Turnout?

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Just three days into early voting, and several North Texas counties have already broke several early voting records.

The lines moved quickly at the Denton Civic Center on Thursday afternoon as voters eagerly case their ballot.

“It’s by civic duty,” said voter Karen Baker.

Audrey Battle said she has lived in Denton County for 50 years and has never seen this kind of excitement.

“I tell you what, if we don’t vote, we don’t have a voice,” she said.

This year, Denton County beat 2016 numbers in the first two days of early voting by 33,000 votes.

The same kind of voter enthusiasm is visible across North Texas.

“We’re way up. It looks to be about 40% in some of our major counties which is a big deal,” said Cal Jillson, SMU political science professor. “There is a lot of excitement out there about this election, on both sides.”

Jillson said although it’s not yet known who has the upper hand, Democrats traditionally turn out in larger numbers for early voting, Republicans on election day.

“When you look at the number in Harris County, for example Houston, and Dallas. Those are big Democratic cities and so the bigger the numbers are, the better that is for Democrats,” said Jillson. “You look at some of the surrounding counties you look at Collin. You look at Williamson, south of here and that's where you would expect to see some Republican numbers coming up.”

Among some of the biggest driving forces behind the big turnouts: President Donald Trump and the direction of the country.

“There are Republicans who are deeply committed to being sure that Donald Trump has a second term as president,” said Jillson. “There are Democrats just as committed to the idea that he needs to go to Maralago and stay there.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Thursday afternoon that as of 12:20 p.m. 20,314 people voted in Dallas County.

A total of 138,000 people have voted so far, he added.

Jenkins previously noted a larger number of voters age 55-64 than younger voters.

Dems will need young voters to turn out, Jillson said.

“I used to not care about politics that much,” said Denton County voter Marcos Trejo. “What’s been going on this past year, I want to put my voice out there.”

Jillson anticipates continued high voter turnout in traditionally more conservative counties like Denton and Collin because of some very competitive races for U.S. and Texas House seats.

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