Election 2020

Harris County Shatters Single-Day Early Voting Record

More than 128,000 people headed to the polls on the first day of early voting, according to the Harris County Clerk’s Office.

A line outside the Trini Mendenhall Community Center, where people were waiting more than an hour to vote on Tuesday, the first day of early voting.

Harris County shattered its single-day early voting record Tuesday, as more than 128,000 people headed to the polls on the first day of early voting.

The county had reached a new first-day early voting as of 2 p.m., and by the time the last person cast their vote, 128,186 people had been unofficially tallied, representing more than 5% of all 2.4 million Harris County voters.

The previous one-day record is 100,005 votes on the last day of the 2016 election, according to the office of Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins.

The previous record for the first day of early voting was 67,471, also in 2016.

The county clerk on Tuesday night also revealed more than 41,000 mail-in ballots had been returned. In total, 169,523 votes have been counted so far in the general election.

MORE | Early Voting Has Begun In Harris County. Here's What You Need To Know

The number of first-day early voters in Harris County during presidential and midterm elections.

MORE | Fort Bend County To Extend Early Voting Hours This Week In Response To Technical Problems

Texas is one of just five states in the U.S. that didn’t expand mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many to fear a depressed in-person turnout. The state is also in the middle of a series of election lawsuits — the latest one filed by the Texas Republican Party in an attempt to limit curbside voting.

But the first-day turnout was a promising sign for the Greater Houston area, and for Texas as a whole, which now has about 17 million registered voters after adding nearly 300,000 to the rolls since just Sept. 22, as the Texas Newsroom’s Ashley Lopez reported.

Polls in Harris County open again Wednesday at 7 a.m., and close at 7 p.m. The last day of early voting is Oct. 30.

Election Day is Nov. 3.

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Paul DeBenedetto

Senior Producer

Paul DeBenedetto is Houston Public Media's senior web producer, writing and editing stories for HoustonPublicMedia.org. Before joining the station, Paul worked as a web producer for the Houston Chronicle, and his work has appeared online and in print for the Chronicle, the New York Times, DNAinfo New York, and other...

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