Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum had anticipated the May 6 Election Day would draw a crowd of voters larger than the early-voting period – but that didn’t seem to be the case with a slow trickle of voters on the day itself.
Several poll workers said more people had taken advantage of the expanded early voting days.
A total of 8,486 voters showed up to cast their ballots at election-day sites, whereas 16,597 did so during the two-week long early voting period, according to the website Harris County Votes.
Tatum said overall turnout in this election was expected to be lower compared to a March primary or November generation election because residents are voting for more localized ballot items such as school board trustees, public infrastructure bond proposals and smaller county municipal leaders and mayors.
Voters in Fort Bend County approved the $1.26 billion Fort Bend ISD bond which included three propositions – each passing with 12,398, 12,560 and 10,663 votes – to fund infrastructure upgrades, security and resource support at 7 schools in the county.
New Caney ISD, Dickinson ISD and La Porte ISD asked the public to consider bonds to help improve their schools as well. Voters approved the passage of both Dickinson and La Porte ISD’s bond proposals which are set to make $120 million and $235 million available to each district.
New Caney ISD’s bond propositions were the costliest of the three school districts, totaling $695 million. In a small turnout, 711 residents were in support of Proposition A and 675 approved Proposition B, according to the website Montgomery County Elections.
City bonds were also up for approval on the ballot, as Pearland residents voted to approve a $181.3 million bond package with four propositions that covered funds for future irrigation infrastructure, streets, parks and public-safety projects.
Jersey Village, South Houston and West University Place also featured mayoral runs. All three cities’ incumbents – Mayors Bobby Warren, Joe Soto and Susan Sample – were re-elected.
Tatum visited Jersey Village City Hall and Goose Creek ISD Education Services, as well as several other Election Day voting locations to ensure that operations were running smoothly.
Because the elections administrator’s team sends out election technicians the morning of voting days to make sure the set-up at each site is as it should be, Tatum mainly is there to check-in with the presiding judges and clerks on how the process is going.
“By and large, the layout is as it’s going to be, I just take notes so I can bring them back to the team and be able to say how things are working,” he said.
“Understanding the layout and what it will look like for the November 2024 election or before the March primaries is important for me to see,” Tatum said.
According to Tatum, operations were running as expected on Election Day. The recent upgrades to digitize and organize their system on a software tracking device assists election officials on tracking and staying up to date with what might be going on.
“We’re able to sit at our desks and see each case or ticket that is opened, how it is opened and how long it takes to close it,” Tatum said. “So, it’s night and day in understanding what’s going on at each polling place.”