Voters are packing the lines in Houston for the first day of early voting.
The Metropolitan Multi-Service Center on West Gray near River Oaks in Houston had a line of people wrapped around the parking lot on Monday afternoon, this first day of early voting in the 2018 midterm election. After walking through a sea of signs and people stumping for issues and candidates, some would-be voters commented on the number of people waiting to vote, either saying how great it is to see so many people voting or that they’d come back when there were less people.
The Houston Chronicle reports nearly 2,000 people stood in line to vote on Monday before the center opened. More than a hundred people were at the center after 1 p.m., getting in line to vote or battling through traffic after casting their ballot.
“I’m so excited to vote. Not enough people take voting seriously,” Susan Hale told Reform Austin as she waited in line. “It’s tremendously important to vote. There are too many unresolved issues that I feel are not being captured by this administration.”
Voters on both ends of the political spectrum took advantage of the first day of early voting, seeming happy to participate in democracy.
“I like early voting,” said Dawn Benson, preferring it to standing in potentially longer lines on election day. “I like conservative issues and those who abide by the Constitution. I think the politicians in Austin have done a good job.”
Standing two spots behind Benson, Anne Geyer said she’s hoping voters put more Democrats in the capitol in Austin.
“Health care is a big problem,” Geyer said. She believes Texas politicians aren’t doing enough to make health care accessible and affordable throughout the state.
Although the official number of votes cast on the first day of early voting hasn’t been released yet, researcher Hector de Leon reports more than 48,000 persons voted by 3 p.m. in Harris County, 90 minutes before polls close for the day. De Leon said the previous day one midterm high for Harris County was 26,051 in 2010.
During the 2012 general election, de Leon said 47,083 people voted in Harris County on the first day of early voting. In 2016, a total of 67,472 persons voted during the first day of early voting.
The Texas midterm election has caught national attention, mostly due to the race between U.S. Senator and Republican Ted Cruz and his Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke, who was at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center early Monday morning.
President Donald Trump is also in Houston for a “Make America Great Again” rally, designed to motivate more of his supporters to vote. News station ABC 13 reports thousands of people were waiting outside of the Toyota Center on Monday. Trump’s event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will have tailgating with live music and food.
Reform Austin will continue to follow the election through early vote and on November 6.