Early Vote Turnout in First Week of Special Elections Is Sparse

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The first week of early voting in two special elections for the Texas House of Representatives has concluded. And while the two seats — District 79 in El Paso County and District 145 in Harris County — are at opposite ends of the state, they shared something in common, few voters. Less than 1,200 people voted in either election on the first week to cast ballots in person.
In the eight-candidate District 145 race to succeed Carol Alvarado, who was elected in December to the Texas Senate, just 632 people voted in person on the first week of early voting and 3 cast mail ballots. District 145 has approximately 73,000 registered voters. Early voting continues through Friday, January 25. Election Day is Tuesday, January 29.  Polling locations and timings for Early Voting can be found here.
Candidates in the race include one Republican – Martha Fierro, six Democrats –  Melissa Noriega, Christina Morales, Oscar Del Toro, Elias De La Garza, Ruben Gonsalez, Alfred Moreno, and one Libertarian – Clayton Hunt.
In El Paso County, a total of just 1,193 people voted on the first week of early voting in the special election to succeed Joe Pickett as the State Representative for District 79, which has approximately 90,000 registered voters, including 1,029 in-person voters and 164 mail ballots. Early voting continues through Friday, January 25. Election Day is Tuesday, January 29. Polling locations and timings for Early Voting can be found here.
House District 79 became vacant when Pickett (D – El Paso) stepped down due to health issues, and Gov. Greg Abbott set a special election. The district includes El Paso International Airport and its surrounding areas, Fort Bliss and the northeastern parts of El Paso County. The HD-79 special election winner will complete Pickett’s two-year term.
The three candidates in the race include Republican Hans Sassenfeld, and two Democrats, Art Fierro and Dr. Michiel “Mike” Noe.
Voting in a third special election for a State House seat in Bexar County is about to get underway. The race for House District 125 is to replace Rep. Justin Rodriguez, who was appointed Bexar County Commissioner after the previous Commissioner, Paul Elizondo, passed away last month. Early voting begins Monday, January 28th, and Election Day is Tuesday, February 12th.
The five candidates in the San Antonio-area House District race include Republican Fred Rangel, and four Democrats, Steve Huerta, Coda Rayo-Garza, Art Reyna, and Ray Lopez.
Reform Austin will continue to follow the special elections and report the results. If no candidate earns 50 percent or more on Election Day in any of the three districts, a runoff will be held several weeks later.

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