Turnout has reportedly spiked on the first day of early voting in Texas, as polls show Ted Cruz ahead of Democrat Beto O'Rourke
Richard W. Rodriguez/AP
- Early voting began on Monday in Texas, the country's most populous red state, where 15.6 million people are registered to vote in the midterm elections next month.
- Some reports indicated on Monday that the state is seeing to higher-than-normal voter turnout, likely fueled by intense interest in the US Senate race between incumbent Republican Ted Cruz and Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
- Based on early voting turnout in recent midterm elections, about 3 million Texans are expected to cast their ballots before Election Day (and between 5 and 6 million in total).
Early voting began on Monday in Texas, the country's most populous red state, where 15.6 million people are registered to vote in the midterm elections next month.
Some reports indicated on Monday that the state is seeing to higher-than-normal voter turnout. The Houston Chronicle likened the nearly 2,000 people - many of whom camped out - outside an early voting location in Houston on Monday morning to a Black Friday shopping crowd.
That group may have been energized by Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the El Paso Democrat challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in a race that has attracted by far the most national attention of any contest in the state. O'Rourke showed up across the street from the Houston voting location on Monday morning to deliver words of encouragement to his supporters.
In Texas, early voting is more popular than lining up for the ballot box on Elecion Day - in 2016, 73.5% of votes were cast before Election Day. In the 2014 midterms, 54.1% of votes were cast early.
The state has added more than 1.6 million registered voters to its rolls since the 2014 midterms, but Texas has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country - it ranked 47th in the US in 2016.
In the last four midterm elections (which attract even fewer voters than presidential years), between 33.6% and 38% of registered voters cast their ballots. If that type of rate holds constant, between 5.2 and 5.9 million Texans will vote in November's elections, and about 3 million will cast their ballots early.
O'Rourke, who's raised more money than any Senate candidate in history - and a shocking $38 million in the third quarter - has for months attracted widespread national attention with video clips of him defending the free speech rights of NFL players and skateboarding in a parking lot going viral online.
Unlike Cruz, O'Rourke has banned donations from corporate political action committees, making the size of his campaign war chest even more impressive.
Early voting also began on Monday in Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC. Texans can cast their ballots until November 2 and on Election Day, which is November 6.
Whoa. This is the line for early voting in #Houston. Literally people camped out last night so they could be among the first to vote. "This is one of the most important elections of our lifetimes," Cody Pogue tells me pic.twitter.com/swtTEmcjcZ- Jeremy Wallace (@JeremySWallace) October 22, 2018
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