Tag Archives: early vote

Texas is voting early, but … wait

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here is some good news and some, oh, wait-and-see news.

The Texas Tribune reports that as of Monday, 46 percent of Texas registered voters had cast their ballots. Early voting ends on Friday. The good news is that the tally so far exceeds the total percentage of early votes cast in Texas during the 2016 presidential election.

Is this reason to rejoice, that Texas finally is going to finish far from the bottom of all states in voter turnout? I am not yet going to do that.

You see, what too often happens is that greater early vote totals do not necessarily translate into greater total vote turnout. It means only that more folks vote early. Period.

There well might be a change in this year’s vote total, given the enormous effort being expended chiefly by Democratic operatives to gin up the early vote. The message likely is being heard in Texas.

Harris County smashed early vote records. Same with Dallas and Travis counties. All of them are strong Democratic bastions. What’s more, even heavy GOP-leaning counties reported record number of voters casting their ballots early.

All of this is causing many folks to consider Texas to be a “battleground” or tossup state as the campaign staggers its way toward the finish line.

I am heartened by the early vote turnout. I am not yet willing to cheer until we get all the ballots counted at the end of this arduous Election Season.

No line at polling station … hmm

I was half expecting to wait in line this morning when I went to my Collin County, Texas, voting station down the street where my wife and I live.

It didn’t happen. We walked, checked in, got our access card, cast our ballots and left. Just like that. In and out in, oh, 12 minutes.

All this talk about the huge surge in early voting? Does it mean a surge in overall turnout? Does it mean Texas won’t be among the worst performing voter turnout states in the Union?

I don’t know. I get that one polling station doesn’t tell the whole story.

Still, I hope the huge spike in early voting doesn’t portend a scenario that results in the early vote detracting from the number of Election Day voters.

We’ll know in due course.

Early vote numbers look like a record-breaker

Texans appear to be answering the call.

Final unofficial early vote totals for this year’s midterm election tell a potentially amazing story that might portend a record year in Texas electoral history.

About 4.9 million Texans have voted early. That number exceeds the total number of ballots cast in the 2014 midterm election. We still have Election Day awaiting us Tuesday. There will be a chance, therefore, for Texans not only to smash the previous midterm vote record to smithereens, but also to approach presidential election year vote totals.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll break the 2016 turnout.

Conventional political wisdom suggests that big midterm election turnouts traditionally bode well for Democrats. I am hoping that’s the case, not just in Texas but around the country. The U.S. House is poised to flip from Republican to Democratic control next January. That gives the so-called “other party” a chance at controlling legislative flow in one congressional chamber. The Senate remains a high hurdle, a steep hill for Democrats to clear.

But … there’s a flicker of hope — based on those early vote totals in Texas — that Democrats might be able to flip a Republican seat. It remains a long shot, from all that I can gather. Beto O’Rourke is mounting a stiff and stern challenge against Ted Cruz. The young Democratic congressman from El Paso has trudged through all 254 Texas counties, telling voters they should support him rather than the Republican incumbent.

I am one of those Texans who will vote Tuesday for O’Rourke. My hope is that there will be enough other Texans who will join me. Cruz long has been seen — even by many of his Senate colleagues — as a self-centered egotist far more interested in his own ambition than in the people he was elected in 2012 to serve.

O’Rourke has pledged, from what I understand, to serve his entire six-year Senate term if elected; Cruz has declined to make that pledge if he is re-elected. What does that tell you? It tells me the Cruz Missile is considering whether to launch another presidential bid in 2020, even against his new BFF, Donald Trump, who he once called a “sniveling coward” and an “amoral” and “pathological liar.”

Are we going to break records Tuesday? I do hope so.

Both sides take heart in early vote surge

I knew it! I said so, too.

It turns out that Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger, and Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent, are staking out positive results from the spike in early voting turnout in Texas for this year’s midterm election.

O’Rourke and Cruz are battling each other. O’Rourke is courting young voters, telling them their votes will make all the difference in his underdog effort to unseat Cruz.

Meanwhile, Cruz is banking on traditional Republican strength in the midterm cycle to carry him to another six-year term.

Both campaigns are calling the news of big early vote turnout a victory for their side.

I don’t know who’s right.

However, I do know this: We vote in secret for a reason. That reason is to protect voters from coercion or pressure. We get to cast our ballots, walk away from the polling booth and keep our little secret to ourselves.

I like it that way, even though I’ve spilled the beans on this blog who is getting my vote in the Senate contest.

And it isn’t the incumbent. Hey, I’m just one vote. The rest of you get to keep your preferences to yourselves.

Just be sure to get out … and vote!

Big first day of early voting might portend an upset

They’re all agog in Harris County over the size of the first day of early voting in Texas’s most populous county.

The early vote totals have smashed to smithereens the previous record, according to reports from down yonder.

Democratic partisans believe the interest bodes well for their slate of candidates, led by U.S. Senate challenger Beto O’Rourke, who’s running against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

Republicans, meanwhile, say, “Not so fast. We’ve got some mojo building, too, for our guy and our slate of candidates.”

Well, I hope it’s the Democrats’ who have reason to cheer the big turnout. My stated preference for O’Rourke to shoot down the Cruz Missile is well-known to readers of this blog. I am cautious, though, about ascribing too much value into the big early vote totals.

Why? My concern is that the early vote totals might not reflect a huge jump in total vote, that Texans are trading in their Election Day vote for an early one.

But … having said that, my hope springs eternal.

My hope is that the big-time spike in early voting activity signals a sea change, that Texans finally might be getting off their duffs and casting ballots in a highly critical midterm election.

We don’t do too well usually when it comes to voting, particularly when it’s merely for members of Congress. This one does feel different.

Let’s hope the difference is mirrored in the number of Texans who cast their ballots.

I’m going to wait until Election Day, per my usual practice.

See you at the polls then.

Big early vote = big total vote? Maybe, maybe not!

I love the chatter about the huge early vote in states that have opened up balloting for the 2018 midterm election.

They say that more than 4.3 million Americans have cast their ballots already, signaling — perhaps, maybe, possibly — a huge increase in total vote turnout.

Excuse my skepticism, but I need to wait for Election Day to make that determination.

I detest early voting as it is. I prefer to vote on Election Day, standing in line, giving some semblance of the pageantry that goes along with voting.

I am likely to wait until Nov. 6 to cast my ballot in Collin County.

Experience tells me that a big boost in early voting doesn’t necessarily translate into a big boost in total turnout. These early-voting statistics tell me that it well might mean only that more voters are casting their ballots early than waiting until Election Day.

Oh, how I hope I’m mistaken this time around.

A big turnout at minimum suggests that Democratic and Republican “base” votes are energized to the hilt. Democrats want to seize control of both congressional chambers, but likely will have to settle for taking control of the House. Republicans want Donald Trump to continue his agenda and believe a GOP-controlled House will enable him to proceed without the fear of getting impeached.

Are these external dynamics going to fuel a huge midterm/off-year election turnout? That remains to be seen, quite obviously.

My belief for years is that representative democracy works best with more voters taking part. I hate the idea of letting someone else determine who sets public policy that affects all of us. I love voting for president … and for members of Congress, the Legislature, and for municipal and county government.

Still, I am not going to salute the expected huge turnout in this year’s midterm election.

At least not quite yet.