A record number of Tarrant County voters cast their ballots Monday as early voting began for the Nov. 6 presidential election."I didn't know if we would reach our 2008 turnout or not, but, at least on the first day, we surpassed it," said Steve Raborn, Tarrant County elections administrator. "Most of the day, we were running 8, 10, 12 percent higher than four years ago. In the afternoon, that trend dropped back a little bit."We ended up ... [higher] than the first day of early voting in 2008."When the polling places closed at 5 p.m. Monday, 30,136 Tarrant County residents had voted in person, according to unofficial totals. That compares with 28,757 who voted in person on the first day of early voting in 2008.That puts local voters on a pace to possibly top the overall historic number of Tarrant County residents who voted early in 2008's presidential contest. That year, 431,799 locals voted early in person, local records show."I don't know if [this pace] will continue," Raborn said. "But we almost always increase day by day through the early voting period."On Monday, turnout was believed to be high statewide, although those totals will not be available until today, according to the Texas Secretary of State's office.Early voting continues until Nov. 2.At the top of the ballot, of course, is the hotly contested presidential race between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are also on the ballot.Near the top of the Texas ballot is the race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate between Republican Ted Cruz, Democrat Paul Sadler, Libertarian John Jay Myers and Green Party candidate David B. Collins.And there are a slew of congressional and legislative races, statewide races, judicial races, state Board of Education races and local races ranging from sheriff to county commissioner.Officials statewide are encouraging Texans to vote early.Even Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who is out stumping for Romney, is encouraging voters to vote earlier than later. "Get that early voting done; you never know when the good Lord is going to call you home," Perry recently said in Nevada.On Monday, local voters posted on social media sites such as Facebook that they had voted.Some said they had no problems, no lines. Others noted that some voting sites, including the Southwest Subcourthouse on Granbury Road, were so crowded that some people couldn't find parking spaces. Even more noted long lines -- and some people leaving without voting -- but said it was encouraging to see a large turnout."Lines at Summerglen Library Early voting site in Ft. Worth," Republican Stephanie Klick, the only candidate on the ballot for the state Rep. District 91 post, reported. "I waited 25 minutes, and the line is now longer than when I started. Exciting to see to many people eager to vote."Early voters may go to any of Tarrant County's sites. They should bring identification -- their voter registration certificate or alternate ID, such as a driver's license, birth certificate, passport, U.S. citizenship papers or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or other government document.As for those voting Monday, only minor glitches were reported to county election officials."It's busy," Raborn said. "But it has been a very smooth day."It's going to be busy throughout the entire early voting period. The last few days will undoubtedly be the busiest."Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610Twitter: @annatinsley
Early voting sites
Early voting for the Nov. 6 general election runs through Nov. 2: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 29-Nov. 2.
Tarrant County Elections Center, 2700 Premier St., Fort Worth. This is the main early voting site. Emergency and limited ballots are available there.
Arlington Subcourthouse, 700 E. Abram St.
Asia Times Square, 2615 W. Pioneer Parkway, Grand Prairie
Bedford Public Library, 2424 Forest Ridge Drive
Benbrook Community Center, 228 San Angelo St.
B.J. Clark Annex, Room 4, 603 Southeast Parkway, Azle
Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center St., Arlington
Center for Community Service Junior League of Arlington, 4002 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington
Colleyville City Hall, 100 Main St.
Crowley Community Center, 900 E. Glendale St.
Diamond Hill/Jarvis Branch Library, 1300 NE 35th St., Fort Worth
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district Administration Building 6, Training Room, 1200 Old Decatur Road, Saginaw
Euless Public Library, 201 N. Ector Drive
Elzie Odom Athletic Center, 1601 NE Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington
Grapevine Community Activities Center, 1175 Municipal Way
Griffin Subcourthouse, 3212 Miller Ave., Fort Worth
Haltom City Northeast Center, 3201 Friendly Lane
Handley/Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St., Fort Worth
Hurst Recreation Center, 700 Mary Drive
JPS Health Center Viola M. Pitts/Como, Lower Level, Suite 100, 4701 Bryant Irvin Road N.
Keller Town Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway
Kennedale Community Center, 316 W. Third St.
Mahaney Community Center, 6800 Forest Hill Drive, Forest Hill
Mansfield Subcourthouse, 1100 E. Broad St.
Northeast Subcourthouse, 645 Grapevine Highway, Hurst
Former North Richland Hills Recreation Center, 6720 NE Loop 820
Sheriff's Office North Patrol Division, 6651 Lake Worth Blvd., Lake Worth
Southlake Town Hall, 1400 Main St.
South Service Center, 1100 SW Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington
Southside Community Center, 959 E. Rosedale St., Fort Worth
Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave., Fort Worth
Southwest Subcourthouse, 6551 Granbury Road, Fort Worth
Starrett Elementary School, 2675 Fairmont Drive, Grand Prairie
Summerglen Branch Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd.
Tarrant County Plaza Building, 201 Burnett St.
Villages of Woodland Springs Amenity Center, 12209 Timberland Blvd., Fort Worth
White Settlement Public Library, 8215 White Settlement Road
Worth Heights Community Center, 3551 New York Ave., Fort Worth
Several temporary early voting sites have special days and hours. They are:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Thursday: -- Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Naylor Student Center, 4530 Stanley Ave.; Texas Wesleyan University, Brown-Lupton Student Center, 1108 S. Collard St.; University of North Texas Health Science Center, Carl E. Everett Education and Administration Building, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.
7 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 29-Nov. 1 -- Tarrant County College Northeast Campus, Student Center NSTU, 828 Harwood Road, Hurst; TCC Northwest Campus, WTLO Theater NW Lobby, 4801 Marine Creek Parkway; TCC South Campus, Student Center Room SSTU 1112, 5301 Campus Drive; TCC Southeast Campus, North Ballroom, 2100 Southeast Parkway, Arlington
7 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 29-Nov.2 -- UT Arlington, Maverick Activities Center, 500 W. Nedderman Drive, Arlington; TCU, Brown-Lupton University Union, 2901 Stadium Drive.
Source: Tarrant County Elections Office