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Early Voter Enthusiam Sets Historic Levels, But What Will It Mean On Election Night?

Ryan Poppe

Participation during early voting for the midterm elections is high, and the turnout might rival numbers usually seen in a presidential election year.

But what will its impact mean on election night?

The Texas secretary of state’s office, with more than 15.8 million registered voters, reports that more people voted early during the 2018 midterm elections than they did during the entire midterm elections of 2014.

The state office also said, in Bexar County, the number of people who cast a ballot during the early voting period is expected to exceed well above 400,000 voters.

“It’s very uncharacteristic of a midterm year, where we normally see about 33-percent of Texas voter turnout,” said Sam Taylor with the secretary of state’s office. “In presidential years, we see about 6 -percent, so it’s looking like it’s going to be more like that presidential year level.”

Taylor also pointed to another crucial factor: The early voting period has seen many new voters.

“We’ve got approximately 1.6 million more people registered to vote this year than we did in 2014,” Taylor said.

Mark Jones, who teaches political science at Rice University, predicts a large percentage of these new voters will likely vote Democrat during this election.

“We seeing notable higher increases among 18- to 29-year-olds, and that’s a group that primarily votes Democratic by a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 margin,” Jones said.

Jones added that, while this might seem like a good thing for Democratic congressional candidates,  a there are a lot of Republican voters in Texas.

“Where the Democrats can have some optimism is the fact is that one out of every ten voters is a new voter, and those voters are likely lean more Democratic than Republican.  All that said, statewide, I don’t think it’s going to lead to anything other than a smaller margin of victory for the Republicans,” Jones said.

Early voting ends Friday. Election Day is Tuesday.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.