On the first day of early voting in Travis County 10,058 people voted. According to the Travis County Democratic Party that is over twice as many voters as the first day of early voting in Travis County in 2006 the last time we had a Texas Governors election.
For comparison in the presidential election year of 2004 15,983 people voted early in Travis County on the first day, while in 2008 32,607 people voted early in Travis County on the first day (Hat tip Burka Blog for those numbers).
Given the enthusiasm gap I would say the majority of voters today were fired up Republican voters who have been waiting two years for this day!
Be the 10,059 early voter in Travis County, find your Austin and Travis County Early Voting locations here and go vote tomorrow!
Complacent Travis County Democrats had better watch out as they are up against a fired up Republican base combined with some great Travis County Republican candidates working hard this election cycle including District Court 353 Judge Jeff Rose, Paul Workman HD-47, Dan Neil HD-48, Patrick McGuinness HD-50 and Marilyn Jackson HD-51
The Texas Tribune has an interesting article that sheds some light on who these 10,058 early voters are in Travis County and what motivates them to vote early.
If you voted today — the first day of early voting for the Nov. 2 elections — you’re probably more partisan, Anglo, older and a woman, according to a report released today by the Center of Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College.
Professor Stefan Haag released the center’s report today on the effects of early voting in Texas. Not surprisingly, Haag says, early voters “tend to be the extremes, either very conservative or the very liberal individuals” — older than 55 and female. “They’re informed and they know the issues and they go out and vote.”
In comparing Election Day voters and early voters both are equally as likely to cast straight ticket ballots, Haag’s report found. Of those who voted early, 59 percent also voted in the primary elections, compared to 47 percent of Election Day voters.
The differences between early voters and Election Day voters can have a significant effect on a politician’s campaign strategy, Haag says. Because early voters are more likely to vote based on ideology, he says, campaigns should target those who are committed to the party early, then concentrate on the independents, nonpartisans and those less likely to vote.
Although the goal of early voting is to increase voter turnout, the report shows just a 3-percent increase. Adding more convenient early voting locations such as in grocery stores or shopping malls — rather than a greater number of locations — could help raise that percentage. Metropolitan and suburban counties with the highest early voter turnout also have more convenient voting sites. “I know a bunch of these counties where there’s one place to go vote,” says ACC Center Director Peck Young. “That’s why you have low turnouts.”
More days for early voting, especially on weekends, could also significantly increase voter turnout, according to the report. On Thursday, the center will release its findings on early voting in the current elections.