More than 200,000 local residents have already cast their ballots for the Nov. 6 presidential election -- with four more days of early voting left to go.The 12-day early voting period wraps up Friday, but local election officials are urging voters not to wait until the last minute."We always have the greatest lines on the last few days -- Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," said Steve Raborn, Tarrant County's elections administrator. "If you're planning to vote early, earlier is better."If you wait until the last few days, you may have a longer line to stand in than you would on Election Day."Early voting sites are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and early voters may go to any of Tarrant County's 44 early voting sites.Already, more than 1.6 million Texans in the state's 15 largest counties have cast their ballots in person, according to the most recent records from the Texas secretary of state that run through Sunday.That's down slightly from 1.7 million Texans who voted early and in person during the same time period four years ago."We knew we would have a high turnout," Raborn said. "It has pretty much been what we prepared for."We have had to add some equipment at some locations, but so far things have gone smoothly."There are several reasons Texans may be drawn to cast their vote before Election Day, said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.But none tops pure convenience."Early voting was introduced in Texas maybe 20 years ago, and turnout has increased in every election since then," Jillson said. "Generally the lines are shorter than they are on Election Day."And most people, no matter who they are going to vote for, have already made up their mind," Jillson said. "They figure they might as well go ahead and vote and get it over with."Four years ago, 66 percent of Tarrant County's registered voters headed to the polls for the presidential race, most casting their ballots early.That year, 431,799 locals voted early in person, 29,798 mailed in ballots, and 173,671 showed up in person on Election Day, records show.At the top of this year's ballot is the race between President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney.Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are also running for president.Below that is the race to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate, featuring 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.The enthusiasm felt by many who headed to the polls four years ago seems to be absent this year, Jillson said."You don't have the enthusiasm, but you do have the idea that ... the stakes are high and are being perceived as very substantial," he said. "Last time, excitement took people to the polls. This time they are trudging to the polls."Early voters should bring identification -- their voter registration certificate or an alternate ID, such as a driver's license, a birth certificate, a passport, U.S. citizenship papers or a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check or other government document.Online: To see a sample ballot, go to www.tarrantcounty.com/eVote. For other information, call 817-831-8683.Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610Twitter: @annatinsley
Early voting for the Nov. 6 general election runs through Friday; polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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:
7 a.m.-7 p.m. through ThursdayNov. 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. through Fridaynov. 2 - University of Texas at Arlington, Maverick Activities Center, 500 W. Nedderman Drive, Arlington; Texas Christian University, Brown-Lupton University Union, 2901 Stadium Drive.
Source: Tarrant County Elections Office