Politics & Government

Nearly a half-million Texans cast ballots

More Texans are voting early this year than did four years ago.

In the first three days of early voting, 485,836 voters in the state’s largest 15 counties cast their ballots in this election, compared with 435,077 at the same point in 2010, according to the most recent Texas Secretary of State data.

In Tarrant County, more than 40,000 voters — 10,000 more than four years ago — headed to the polls during the same time period, local election results show.

“We are quite a bit ahead of 2010,” said Frank Phillips, Tarrant County’s elections administrator. “My suspicion is that the governor’s race is driving it. Other counties say they are up too.

“But I don’t know which candidate that helps.”

This year’s fiery gubernatorial race pits Fort Worth Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis against Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party candidate Brandon Parmer.

Four years ago, the governor’s race featured Republican Rick Perry seeking another term as he fended off challenges from Democrat Bill White, Libertarian Kathie Glass, Green Party Deb Shafto and write-in candidate Andy Barron.

In the first three days of voting, 5.41 percent of voters turned out compared with 5.22 percent in the same timeframe four years ago, state records show.

Statewide, Hidalgo County has seen the largest percentage of early voting in the first three days, drawing 6.6 percent of its voters to cast ballots in person or through the mail, according to data from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.

Galveston County voters followed with 6.38 percent and Williamson County voters were third with 6.27 percent. Tarrant County voters had the sixth highest percentage, 5.94 percent, of all early voters, state records show.

“It’s great for Democracy,” Phillips said.

Early voting runs through Halloween. Election Day is Nov. 4.

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