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I put out this yesterday and it got some buzz:

In 2010, here in Harris County, 54,625 folks voted by mail. 24,231 went straight GOP and 11,448 went straight Dem. 31,101 voted for Governor Perry and 22,875 for Bill White.

In 2012, 75,177 voted by mail with 28,608 going straight GOP and 19,557 going Dem. 43,270 voted for Mitt Romney and 31,414 voting for the President.

As of yesterday here in Harris County, 80,641 mail ballot applications have been submitted. 36,910 of the applications have been generated by the Democratic Party or Democratic candidate campaigns and 34,381 by the GOP and GOP candidate campaigns.

Here are the new numbers:

As of yesterday (Oct. 8) here in Harris County, 82,129 mail ballot applications have been submitted. 37,250 of the applications have been generated by the Democratic Party or Democratic candidate campaigns and 35,230 by the GOP and GOP candidate campaigns.

Now what I didn’t say because I didn’t know until I checked was in 2012, the Harris County Clerk mailed out a little over 92,000 mail ballots and 76,000 were returned. That means 16,000 or so never made it back and didn’t get counted. I am figuring the Dems know this and are following up if you know what I mean. Dems are not going to let the mail ballots sit at home. Regardless, this looks like a pretty impressive effort. Just to approach the 2012 figure is A-Okay. Nice work! Keep following up!

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago. I had some questions at the time about how these voters were being targeted, which have been addressed. This looks like it will be very effective. As of yesterday, about 12,000 of these ballots had already been returned. According to Kyle Johnston’s analysis of the roster, about 54% of the ballots were returned by people that could be classified as Democrats, 37% by Republicans, and the rest undetermined. That’s not a bad start, and there are still two weeks in which one can request a mail ballot.

Well, assuming those ballots make it in to be counted.

Hundreds of mail-in ballots that are being mistakenly held for days at a downtown post office will now be delivered to the Harris County Clerks Office.

The downtown post office was holding the ballots for insufficient postage, something they are not supposed to do.

“We found a glitch. And we’re going to expose this,” said Harris County Democratic Chairman Lane Lewis.

Lewis found out about the ballots and offered to pay for the postage shortage. Almost all the ballots were short on postage by just pennies.

“These votes whether Republican or Democrat, I don’t know, but they need to be counted,” said Lewis.

A postal worker told Eyewitness News the shortage was about $57.

[…]

Eyewitness News learned Stanart made his own mistake. The return ballot states the postage is 69 cents. But it should have been 70 cents. Some ballots were being held for just a penny. Stanart said he didn’t know about the change in postage.

“I personally didn’t. I would have to talk to my office if they do know that,” said Stanart.

That’s your Houston Chronicle-endorsed County Clerk Stan Stanart right there, ladies and gentlemen. Isn’t he something?

Anyway. This is a Harris County program, and Lane Lewis and the HCDP get the credit for it. There are other mail programs going on around the state, though I doubt any will be as big as the HCDP’s will. While I know a decent number of the people targeted by Lewis and the HCDP are Presidential year voters, surely a fair number of these ballots are coming from people that would have turned out anyway. This isn’t a silver bullet, because there aren’t any, it’s just one of a lot of small, medium, and large things that need to be done to try to close the gap. It’s in addition to the voter registration numbers, for which there’s more good news and a bit of national attention. You have to feel good about it.

Again, it’s still too early to draw any conclusions, and even if everything is going exactly according to plan there’s still a ginormous gap that needs to be closed. Like I keep saying, even a really big step forward can fall well short. But what this election feels like to me is a dogfight. We’ve got Abbott and Patrick running attack ads even as the narrative was that frontrunners don’t do that. We’ve got the voter ID ruling, which came down late yesterday and for which I’ll have more tomorrow. It’s game on. Get out there and make something happen.

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One Comment

  1. Mary Flood Nugent says:

    Hey Kuffner–can you figure out what’s going on between HISD and HCC?

    When I got my first presiding judge letter of this election cycle (the one with the number of machines and clerks assigned to my precinct) I noticed that our polling place (which has been Poe Elementary School since time immemorial) was marked “tentative”.

    I keep waiting for the “tentative” designation to come off my precinct polling place on the online list (so I can get busy enlisting my election clerks) and then this morning, when I downloaded the .pdf of Harris County polling places, I find that there are LOTS of “tentative” polling places, and looks like all the usual HISD polling places are so designated. This is a bit weird just 21 days out. No one at HCC’s office had anything to say except “We’re still working on it.” Let me know if you find out anything. Thanks for the good work. (And don’t forget–Mr. Stanart misapplied postage in the 2012 election too. http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2012/05/double-check-the-postage-on-your-mail-in-ballot/)