Texas’ 2020 early voting surpasses total turnout in 2016 election

Texans cast 8.96 million ballots in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Texas secretary of state’s website.

This election cycle, there are signs of an energized electorate as pre-Election Day voting, either by mail or in-person, has skyrocketed amid the coronavirus pandemic and states are reporting record-breaking turnout.
The high turnout this election so far accounts for more than half — 53% — of registered voters in the Lone Star State. The number of total registered voters has grown 12% since 2016 — almost 1.9 million people.

Nearly 433,000 people went to the polls on Thursday to cast their ballot, bringing the total of in-person votes to over 8 million, according to the Texas secretary of state’s website.

Mail-in ballots, which continue to flow in from all over the state, account for over 947,000 votes so far.

The turnout among registered voters in 2020, 53% as it stands, could also exceed the near 59% of registered voters who turned out for the 2016 presidential election, according to the Texas secretary of state’s website.

The turnout among Texas registered voters in the 2016 election was higher than in the 2012 contest, but slightly lower than the 2008 election. Voters do not register by party in Texas.

Early voting in Texas started on October 13 with thousands of voters facing long lines and waiting hours to cast their ballot at some locations.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott extended in-person early voting by an additional week this election due to the pandemic. But he put in place restrictions on absentee ballot drop off locations to one per county, regardless of population and area.

Mail-in voting requires an excuse in Texas and is limited to residents 65 years or older, those who are sick or disabled, or those in jail but otherwise eligible to vote. Voters who are out of the county during early voting or on Election Day are also eligible for mail-in voting.

State polling shows the race in Texas between President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden within the margins of error in a state that hasn’t gone to a Democratic candidate since the 1976 presidential election. Trump won the state of Texas in 2016 by 10 percentage points.

This story has been updated to include additional background information about early voting in Texas.

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