Officially, the Texas presidential primary is next Tuesday, but in reality, it’s well underway thanks to the state’s liberal early voting rules. And if early voting is any indication, the year-long pattern of heavy and disproportionately Democratic turnout in the primaries will be continued in the Lone Star State.
Check this out from today’s Dallas Morning News:
Six days into early voting – and with a week left – about 360,000 voters in the state’s 15 largest counties have cast early or mail-in ballots in the 2008 Democratic primary, compared with 120,000 in the Republican primary.
“It’s the intensity. The energy we’re seeing,” said Diana Broadus, election judge at one of Dallas County’s busiest early-voting locations, in Oak Cliff.
“They are coming in ready to vote. They want to make sure their vote is going to count.”
And they’re doing so at a record pace.
“We have already surpassed the total early-voting numbers for both the 1996 and 2000 elections,” said Scott Haywood, spokesman for Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson. “At this point, it is a record.”
Both parties are seeing much higher turnout than four years ago – but it’s the numbers in the Democratic primary that are turning heads.
Democratic voters have so far dominated the early voting in Texas’ 15 largest counties.
Depending on how things turn out, there will likely be some speculation next Tuesday about which Democratic candidate benefitted the most from early voting. But putting that aside, it’s never a bad sign when voters rush to the polls.