Voter Turnout

If early voting numbers are any indication, more people are voting in this election than the last non-presidential election. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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Local early voting numbers are ten percent higher than the last governor's race in 2002. Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman says early voting this year represents about 30 percent of the overall turnout. About 171,000 people used early voting in Harris County.

"So that's encouraging that we're going to have a moderately good turnout on election day for a gubernatorial election."

When comparing numbers from the '02 election, the trend looks the same for Brazoria County. County Elections Director Janice Evans says they've seen a significant jump in early voting.

"Brazoria County had 17,986 people vote early. For this election, we had 24,726 people vote early. So that's up by about 7,000 voters."

What's unclear is what's causing the jump in the numbers.

"I don't know if it's because people are finding the convenience of early voting or if, you know, more people are interested in the races that are out there."

The Texas Governor's race, pitting a Republican incumbent against a Democratic and two Independent candidates has generated a lot of election buzz. Additionally, the race for Congressional District 22 may be driving more people to the polls. And once they get there, Kaufman says in Harris County, the ballot could take some time to comb through.

"The size of the ballot and the complexity of the ballot is a big challenge and we'd like to urge voters to carefully review their ballot before punching the cast ballot button for the last time. Voting a straight party might not catch every race that there is to be voted on this time because of other local elections that are on the ballot as well."

Kaufman is projecting a voter turnout of about 35 percent of the population. The State Secretary Roger Williams is projecting an overall state turnout of about 36 percent. Visit the website, kuhf dot org, for links to information on polling locations in Harris County. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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