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Early Voting Slumps In Texas: What’s Behind the Decrease?

A significant number of Texans didn’t participate in early voting this year compared to the 2020 primary, despite an increase in registered voters statewide.

According to The Texas Tribune, more than 200,000 fewer Texans participated in early voting this year compared to 2020, a drop from 2M early voters to 1.8 this year. In relative terms, 12.6 percent of registered voters participated in early voting in 2020, while about only 10 percent voted early this year.

These numbers are important because in most cases, primaries are when voters actually get to choose their candidates. Especially in the House, some districts have a high probability of voting red or blue no matter the candidate, so the primary is the moment when voters can really make a difference.

The decline in early voters is mostly among Democratic voters and in border counties. According to Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, the apathy of early voters can be attributed to a lack of competitive races on the Democratic side.

“I think there is less enthusiasm for the big matchup in 2024,” which could very likely be a rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. “We’ve been there, done that, and I think a lot of voters are kind of sitting on the sidelines until things change.”

Turnout is more stable in red counties, where Republicans have some interesting races, with Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking revenge on lawmakers who opposed them.

While Abbott is trying to unseat legislators who opposed vouchers, Paxton is targeting Republicans who voted to impeach him. These races may be more interesting to Republican primary voters, but still, a small fraction of voters will decide the future of these districts.

According to the Texas Tribune, about 30 percent of Republican primary voters in 2022 were over the age of 70, while only 4 percent were under the age of 30. This could have a big impact on the candidates elected in red districts.

Despite the low turnout in early voting, citizens can still vote tomorrow on Election Day. In this primary, voters in all 254 counties will choose Democratic and Republican candidates for president, state representatives, lower-level judges and county offices.

Written by RA News staff.


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