Parking was at a premium outside the Multi-Service Center on West Gray in the River Oaks area as people waited for the doors to open so they could vote. This location is usually one of the busiest in the city. It was also the place former Houston Mayor Bill White and his wife Andrea voted.
“There may be a traffic jam or you may have an emergency at work on Election Day. Elections are so important. There’s one time every few years when every Texan has an equal say in our government, where every Texan has an equal say in the course of Texas, and that is when we have an opportunity to vote.”
White is hoping to unseat incumbent Texas Governor Rick Perry, who cast his early ballot in Austin. White told reporters he did not vote a straight party ticket, particularly in the judicial races.
“I think there’s outstanding candidates that the Democratic party has here in Harris County. But I think we need to get away from the intense partisanship of judicial elections, because I do not think that the quality of judging should depend on the party that somebody is.”
The race for governor tops the ballot, but there are 175 contests and propositions on the card across the county. How many actually appear will depend on where you live.
Election officials held their breath nearly two months ago when a massive fire destroyed balloting machines. Although new e-slates and borrowed equipment have replaced those lost in the fire, voters I talked to are responding to the advice to vote early.
Voter: “Everything was actually a little bit easier to me I think. I think there were people that had problems inside, but everything was pretty much the same. There wasn’t any difference at all since the fire.”
Voter: “Part of it is just that it’s available and I know that voting early here is easy to do.”
Voter: “And it’s not as stressful. It’s great to get it over with early, and plus then I can go recruit my friends to vote.”
The long ballot could cause delays on November second, so these voters were not about to wait till the last minute.
Voter: “I’m excited to be out here voting early, and I hope that the citizens of Houston and Harris County will make a big turnout.”
Voter: “Get it over with while I can, it’ll be easier to get in here now than later.”
Voter: “Oh yeah, I couldn’t wait to vote this year.”
Voter: “Straight ticket, doesn’t take long, buddy.”
Voter: “I know my husband. I know what he’s gonna do, but what I do is my business.”