Nearly two full days before early voting ends, Harris County shattered the in-person early voting record Thursday at 9 a.m. after the 700,983rd voter cast his or her ballot. And we've still got the entire day today to stretch that record even further.
By the end of the day Thursday, the in-person total had grown to 777,575, and the Harris County Clerk's Office expects approximately 85,000 or more will vote by the end of the day Friday. When combined with the 91,817 mail-in ballots turned in since early voting began October 24, a grand total of 869,392 voters have so far participated in this election before the big shebang on November 8.
“Incredible turnout for a historic election," County Clerk Stan Stanart said in a statement. “I expect the total number of early voters for this election, including mail ballots received, will get close to the one million mark by the end of the early voting period.”
Clerk's office spokesman Hector de Leon said roughly 2.2 million people in Harris County are registered to vote, of the roughly 3.3 million who are eligible according to population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. De Leon said approximately 62 percent of registered voters actually vote each election cycle, and that last year the turnout was 442,000 on Election Day alone.
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So you might want to consider getting to the polls today, your last chance to vote early with approximately 80,000 other in-person voters as opposed to hundreds of thousands on November 8.
Harris County is just one of what appears to be all major counties breaking their early voting records across the state. While de Leon said the clerk's office cannot track voter demographics, the Houston Chronicle found in its own analysis of voter history that 36 percent of voters who have made it to the polls so far were historically Democratic voters in presidential primaries, as opposed to 32 percent were Republicans.
In past University of Houston voter polls shortly before early voting began, Democrats also showed a slight edge over Republicans, with Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by seven points.
But with all these October surprises, perhaps the outcome is anybody's guess. For now, better get in line.