Nov 3, 2022 - News

Early voting down statewide compared with 2018

Illustration of a stopwatch with ballot elements and shapes behind it

There are just three days left to vote. Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Early voting turnout is down statewide compared with the last governor's race.

Why it matters: Texas voter turnout reached record levels in 2018, which may turn out to be an outlier.

Driving the news: There are two days of early voting left before Election Day on Tuesday.

Zoom out: Nearly 20% of registered voters have cast an in-person or mail-in ballot in the first eight days of early voting in the most populous 30 counties in Texas. In 2018, 27% of registered voters had cast ballots during the same time period in those counties, per the Texas Tribune.

Flashback: Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke was on the ballot in 2018 during his unsuccessful bid to replace incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

  • In 2018, incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott handily defeated Democrat Lupe Valdez, a former Dallas County sheriff.

By the numbers: Just 18% of registered voters in Dallas County had cast in-person ballots through Tuesday, compared with 25% during the same early voting period in 2018, per Texas Secretary of State data.

  • Nearly 21% of Tarrant County registered voters had cast ballots in person during that period, compared with 25% in 2018.
  • Nearly 25% of Collin County registered voters had cast ballots in person during that period, compared with nearly 33% in 2018.
  • And, nearly 25% of Denton County registered voters had cast an in-person ballot through Tuesday, compared with 30% during the same period in 2018.

Yes, but: Changes made during the 2021 legislative session to early and in-person voting, including banning drive-thru voting, changing mail-in ballot ID requirements and allowing partisan poll watchers, could be why fewer people are voting.

Of note: Abbott continues to lead in statewide polls over Rourke.

🗳Go deeper: Your one-minute guide to statewide races

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