Early voting for the November general election has begun in Texas, and turnout thus far has been impressive. Very impressive. Experts predict more Texans will vote early than on Election Day.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, in the 30 Texas counties where almost 80 percent of Texans live, more people voted in the first week of early voting than did throughout the entire early voting period in the last midterm election, in 2014. In some counties, turnout is triple 2014 numbers. And the fastest growing counties are seeing the largest number of early voters.
If the trends continue, voter turnout will surpass participation typically found only in presidential elections.
Voters across the country are saying that health care is their primary concern. Depending on the outcome of some of the races that the Texas Medical Association is watching, the next legislative session could be an interesting one, indeed.
Political prognosticators are still trying to handicap the race, but because Texans don’t have to register with a political party to vote, their figures are based on primary ballots cast and extrapolating that to future behavior. The two U.S. Senate candidates in Texas have raised and spent more than a combined $100 million, generating considerable activity and passionate discussions. Polling results in statewide races are fairly lopsided, likely dashing Democrats’ hopes of a blue wave in the state capital. The effects on down-ballot races can’t and won’t be known until polls close on Nov. 6.
Early voting ends Friday, Nov. 2. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Some quick homework will prepare you to beat the crowds and take advantage of early voting. Review your statewide options, which can be found on this statewide sample ballot. You can find the candidates on your precinct's ballot online, where you also can verify your voter registration. And, of course, you can find the list of TEXPAC-endorsed candidates on the TEXPAC website.
Here’s what you need to know to vote:
If your voter registration card has not arrived in the mail, visit the Secretary of State’s website to double-check you are registered to vote. If you are not registered, unfortunately it is too late to participate in the midterm election, but please register to vote in the next primary election in March, 2020.
You can vote (and should) at any polling location in your home county throughout early voting. You will need to bring an acceptable form of a valid photo ID. You also can bring one of the alternate supporting forms of ID along with a completed Reasonable Impediment Declaration, which the polling location will provide.
Early voting locations and polling location hours are posted online. During early voting, you can vote at any location where you see a “VOTE HERE” sign. Avoid Election Day lines and stop by when you’re out running errands or on your way home from work. It only takes a few minutes, but its impacts will be felt for years. VOTE EARLY.
The wave may not be the color you prefer, but a turnout wave is cresting nonetheless, and it’s beginning to look like a tsunami. Get out your surfboard and head to the polls. Every single vote counts. And matters.