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More Than 1 Million Young Texans Voted Early In 2020 Election

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David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

Texas was one of the first states to cast more votes in the 2020 election than in all of 2016.

More than a million young Texans cast their ballots before early voting ended on Friday. That also put the Lone Star State first in the U.S. for young voter turnout.

On the same day, the statewide total vote soared to about 9.7 million, compared to just under 9 million in 2016.

On Saturday morning, Bexar County reported 594,735 early votes.

Texas added almost 2 million registered voters since 2016. With that larger population of voters, the total percentage of people who cast a ballot did not quite catch up to the last election — about 57 percent of registered voters so far this year, compared to 59 percent in 2016.

But Election Day and the mail-in vote numbers are still to come, meaning the 2020 share was expected to surge past 60 percent for the first time in almost three decades.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said on Friday that, so far, mail ballots were seeing record numbers. “We’ve now mailed out just a few shy of 120,000 mail ballots," she said. "We’ve received in house 85,000."

The elections office planned to begin scanning the 85,000 ballots on Saturday.

“We will scan them through the tabulators,” she said on Friday. “They’re scantrons … but they’re set up in such a way that the programming does not allow any results to be released."

She explained that the remaining ballots were either still in the hands of voters or moving through the mail system. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 3 — at 7 p.m. and be in the hands of the election office by 5 p.m. the next day to be counted.

She added that about 15,000 voters who requested mail ballots opted to instead vote in person.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found more than two-thirds of likely voters in Texas had planned to cast or did cast early votes. Only 18% said they would vote in person on Election Day.

Also on Friday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he expected record voter turnout on Tuesday. “We think probably maybe a [100,000], maybe up to 175,000, will vote on Election Day," he said.

Joey Palacios, Brian Kirkpatrick and the Texas Newsroom's Joseph Leahy and Becky Fogel contributed to this report.

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