Early in-person voting opened in Texas this past Tuesday — and over two million Texans have already voted early in-person. (Texas limits mail-in voting, and not every voter is eligible to use the practice in the state.) In multiple Texas counties, early in-person voting levels easily surpassed previous records. In Collin County, which is just north of Dallas, more than 39,000 people cast their ballots in-person on Tuesday, which is about 8,000 more than the first-day early voting total in 2016. Over in Travis County, which includes the city of Austin, 35,873 voters cast their ballots in-person on the first day of early voting — and on Wednesday, the total reached even higher, hitting 38,119. Travis County’s Wednesday level was about 4,500 votes higher than their 2016 level for the second day of early voting.
The Tuesday level of early voting in Travis County, Texas, was the then-highest single-day early in-person vote total that had ever been recorded in the county — and then the county surpassed that level on Wednesday and then surpassed it again on Thursday, when they hit 39,227 votes. Meanwhile, on the first day of early voting in Harris County — which includes the city of Houston — more than 128,000 voters cast their ballots, and on Wednesday, more than 100,000 more ballots had been cast by about 5 P.M. local time. Dallas County had almost 60,000 early in-person voters on Tuesday, which is just above their own 2016 level for early voting’s opening day.
Texas is perhaps surprisingly close in the polls — as of early Friday, Trump leads by an average of a mere 1.4 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight. Texas does not make party affiliation data available for the early votes that have been cast, but among the early votes elsewhere in the country for which party affiliation data is available, Democrats are decidedly in the lead. Democrats have cast 55.7 percent of the over 9.2 million nationwide early votes for which party affiliation data was available as of early Friday, while Republicans have cast 23.6 percent of that total, with most of the rest taken up by unaffiliated voters.
One factor weighing down early Republican turnout might be the president’s own unfounded rants against mail-in voting, which he falsely claims is full of opportunities for fraud. These baseless claims about supposed election fraud could, in theory, be used as the basis for punitive court cases over the election results if, after Election Day, Trump decides to refuses to accept the election results.