Over 9mn Texans cast ballots early, surpassing total votes in 2016 election

The number of voters who cast ballots in the US state of Texas in early voting period this year has surpassed the total number of people who voted in 2016 election, the Texas Tribune reported.

The Texas Tribune has been tracking early voting in Texas. According to its figures, from October 13 through October 29, 9,009,850, or 53 per cent of registered voters, have voted so far, with one day of early voting left. In 2016, 8,969,226 Texans cast a ballot in the presidential race, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

By the time all the Election Day votes and mail-in ballots are counted, Texas will likely hit record-breaking turnout levels this election, surpassing 60 per cent of registered voters for the first time since the early 1990s, said the report.

The surge in votes is partly due to high turnout during early voting and increases in registered voters in Texas’ growing urban and suburban counties, it added.

October 30 is the last day of early voting in Texas. In Harris County, where Texas’ largest city Houston is located, all 122 early voting locations will be open until 7 p.m. local time. Local officials have encouraged people to vote with safety measures due to spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that voting by mail is the safest and most convenient way to vote, but for the thousands of Harris County residents that are not eligible, we’ve provided more opportunities to vote and stay safe than ever before in Texas history,” local media quoted Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins as saying.