Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Early voting, Day Five: Maybe the lines will be shorter next week

Resources will be mobilized to ameliorate things.

EarlyVoting

Harris County will add staff and equipment to early voting locations next week to help cut down long wait times fueled by a record surge of voter turnout, County Clerk Stan Stanart said.

Typically, people head to early voting to skip the lines of Election Day, but voters since Monday in Harris County have overwhelmed many early polling places, resulting in waits of more than an hour in some locations. Big counties across the state also reported record turnout this week.

“After more than a year of one of the most conflict-ridden and divisive presidential campaigns we have ever seen,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones, “there was clearly some pent up demand among a segment of voters to go out and cast their ballots.”

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, pointed out close countywide races for sheriff and district attorney and “the ongoing discussion about Texas being in play as a battleground state on the presidential level.”

“Competitive elections drive turnout,” he said, because people feel their vote means more.

Stanart on Monday said he had expected a record-breaking Day One turnout of around 55,000. Actual turnout hit more than 67,000, and on Wednesday it was 76,000.

On Thursday, Stanart said wait times had begun to decrease as staff got in the groove of running an election. The number of votes processed per hour grew from 6,000 on Monday to 7,500 on Wednesday, he said.

“They always are rusty for the first couple of days, and usually it’s not a big deal,” he said, adding that this year “people are voting in droves.”

Here’s the Day 5 EV report, and the updated spreadsheet. There were 81,239 in person votes cast yesterday, and yes, that’s another record. In fact, it’s the third busiest day ever, after the final EV days in 2012 and 2008. That brings the record-setting first week to a grand total of 374,679 in person votes; it’s 452,124 when you add in mail ballots. But mail ballots don’t make you wait in line, so the staff and equipment numbers at each location will matter. For comparison purposes the first five days of early voting in 2012 yielded 260,274 votes, and in 2008 it was 220,046. And in both cases, the last five days were considerably busier. There were another 337,389 votes cast in 2012, and another 364,060 in 2008. It’s a guess, but I’d predict a 50% total increase for the last five days, or about 550,000 total votes.

That’s kind of nuts, and I could totally be wrong, but who knows? If I am right, that means a bit more than a million votes would be cast early, which is about a one-third increase over 2012. Given that the first five EV days this week saw a 44% increase over 2012, I don’t think that’s out of line. Extending that all the way out, I’d say this portends a final overall turnout of 1.4 million to 1.5 million, which would be a boost of 200,000 to 300,000 over 2012. Again, I could be way off. Maybe Week 2 will slow down, or at least not have the same kind of increase over Week 1 that we’re used to seeing. As they say about sports, this is why we play the game. I guess my bottom line is that you should still expect to wait if you haven’t voted yet. It won’t be that bad, but do plan to take some time for this.

Related Posts:

13 Comments

  1. Neither Here Nor There says:

    It may be worse come election day because of the politics that Stan Stanart, County Clerk, is playing. Over the last few years he has slowly but surely has made sure that lines will be longer and that people will be confused as to where to vote come election day.

    There is rigging of elections but it is the Republican Party that has created white districts that happen to be be republican.

  2. voter_worker says:

    Conspiracy theories from either side of the aisle rank about equally high on the tin foil meter in my opinion. Neither, how is Stanart making sure “that people will be confused as to where to vote come election day”? The list of polling places is not secret and ubiquitous internet mapping tools are available for voters to use. As for the lines, they are not an elected official’s friend and as the article here makes plain, staffing is being adjusted in response to the heavy turnout which was not predicted by anyone, even our brilliant scribe Kuff.

  3. Mainstream says:

    Republicans did not create “white” districts. Liberal interest groups such as ACLU, MALDEF, NAACP, and black and Latino politicians, aided by an aggressive and activist DOJ, pushed for a very radical interpretation of the Voting Rights Act requirements for minority opportunity districts, which had the effect of packing black or Latino voters into separate and overly safe districts, thus bleaching out the surrounding districts. These liberal groups wanted districts which were at least 65% black or 65% Latino, arguing that the money of white business interests would otherwise overwhelm the preferences of the grassroots voters in those districts. In a community like Houston with dispersed residential patterns, to draw such districts required nutty contortions.

    With respect to the allegation that Stan Stanart is creating confusion about voting day polling locations, my experience has been that the problem lies with lazy and low information voters. I once had a voter from near San Antonio walk into my polling place in the Heights on an election day. He was in Houston on business, and could not make it back home to vote in time that day, and figured that since the vote was for president, he would be allowed to vote anywhere in America on election day. For anyone in Harris County who has computer access, the solution is simple: look at http://www.harrisvotes.com.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Gerrymandering has been done by Dems AND Pubs. Neither group has the moral highground. Mainstream points out the Dem version, and the Pubs? Two words: Tom Delay.

  5. voter_worker says:

    Mainstream is alluding to the redistricting following the 1990 census, which was intricately convoluted so as to achieve the objectives he mentions. As a result, Harris County’s number of voting precincts rose from roughly 650 to over 1300 for the 1992 primary and general elections. This is when the zero population precincts were introduced, and some of them are still here.

  6. souperman says:

    I was in and out of the Bear Creek Community Center in 15 minutes today at about 1pm. First presidential general election I’ve ever voted in without a wait of an hour or more (though it’s a small sample size).

  7. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Amazing how sensitive Republicans get when they are told that they are creating white districts, that Stan Stanart which happens to be a Republican is engaged in voter disenfranchisement.

    They knew that there would be about 1.4 million voters this election, that is no secret. Since I voted at Bayland I will use that as an example.

    Many of the voting booth at Bayland were not being used, because there were only three computers to register persons. The following day they sent an additional computer, I went to see if that had improved.

    As to how they will be confused is that many are being sent to places where they have never before voted during an election day. I live in pct that will have its normal place closed and would have to go vote at a location located nearly 3 miles away. There are three other places that are much closer and have been used in the past. The new location I have no idea where it is. Can I prove it now, only with my example, but there are past elections where so many pcts were combined and insufficient people and equipment was provided. Stanart has been there a long time, he is an efficient administrator when it is convenient to be one. Elections not so much so.

    As to Mainstream, obfuscate is very typical for Republicans. Blame the voters for being lazy, why not give them all a test, if they can’t name all the persons running without a score card they can’t vote? Mainstream every year you vote at a certain place, if you were a normal person you would assume that next election day will be at the same location.

    The Voting Rights act did do what you claim but that is not what is happening in Texas, in Texas Republicans that are about 95% white and about 50% racist are drawing lines based on being Republican, aka, white. The Rep used to gripe about those gerrymandered districts but they don’t seem to mind them so much so now. That is rigging based on whiteness. Look at some of the districts that the Republicans have drawn that has nothing to do with creating minority districts.

    No one predicted, wrong https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2016/09/28/171552/harris-county-pushes-early-voting-in-expectation-of-high-presidential-election-turnout/

    They did add some new early voting locations, but failed to provide sufficient equipment and personnel. I personally believe it was intentional. I was stating as much several months ago (the efforts to effect election), here on Kuff if you care to look it up.

    That above does not even include Sheriff Stanart with his I will get you statements:

    http://www.houstonpress.com/news/harris-county-clerk-will-vet-voters-who-claim-to-lack-photo-id-8704744

    Or Stanart sending armed persons to video tape voters

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/texas/article/Federal-observers-to-be-at-75-Harris-County-10419694.php

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    I voted early about an hour ago……there were people voting, but no line. I walked right in and voted. Always let the eager beavers and die hards wait in line and let them get it out of their system, then vote. Same thing for seeing a movie that just came out. Avoid the lines by waiting a little bit for the big crowds to shake out.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    On a related note, the poll workers said about 10,000 people have voted so far at the location I visited, probably a record. I asked how many failed to show a Texas DL or ID.

    Answer: One. Guy (or gal) supposedly had one, but refused to show it out of principle and left in a huff, without voting.

    I am still anxiously awaiting totals for all the voters who fill out provisional ballots, with the form explaining why they can’t get a photo ID. My prediction: virtually none, if my area is any indication.

  10. voter_worker says:

    Neither, there are 1012 voting precincts in Harris County and it doesn’t seem untoward to me that some precincts out of a total that large will have a different polling place from time to time. The two precincts I’ve lived in since 1988 have had the same polling place for every election. If yours is different this time it’s not because Stan Stanart picked your precinct out of the pot to change just to confuse or irritate you and your fellow voters. I’ve heard reasons varying from electrical problems, ADA problems, owner declines to rent to the County, election judge wants a different location, the precinct boundary changed, etc. As for turnout predictions, yes, everyone predicted a larger turnout than ever before, but no one I read anticipated consecutive daily records from day one forward. I voted at Bayland on Monday and noted the un-occupied machines just as you did and I’m glad to hear that an additional clerk was added the next day. There’s no point in arguing with you about any of your other points if you’re convinced Stanart is out to deter Democrats from voting, but I had to chuckle at your apparent assumption that anyone taking a non-conspiratorial view of Stanart’s operation must be a Republican.

  11. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Voter come November 8, we will see who is correct.

    But I understand the tribal nature of people and the need to defend the tribe.

    “but no one I read anticipated consecutive daily records from day one forward”, as I often tell my grandson, Dah, so all 1.4 million less the election day about 30-40 percent were to vote on day one, yeah.

  12. Neither Here Nor There says:

    You are correct voter, there are some 3rd party lunatic supporter out there, who hate both parties and America (for what it stands for). But they are the exceptions and normally one does not work with the exception.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/third-party-voting-nonwhite-millennials

    or a video with humor to make one laugh if they have a sense of humor

    https://www.merryjane.com/culture/gary-johnson-jill-stein-dumbest-quotes-actions

  13. brad moore says:

    Both Democratic and Republican parties, and their supporters who are whining, are disingenuous about gerrymandering.

    Why have I not heard any comments or support for non-partisan redistricting commissions?

    As for Stanart, he dropped the ball in his duties as it relates to the preparation and execution for early voting.