By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Early voting in Texas has shut down and here’s the good news: Texans responded like champs to Democrats’ call for early voting.
We responded so well that the early vote totals have surpassed the entire number of ballots we cast in the 2016 election; and that includes Election Day voting four years ago.
So, what does that mean? On the surface it could mean that more voters who lean in Joe Biden’s favor have turned out to cast their ballots early. My ballot is among the more than 9 million already cast. Does the former VP have a majority of those ballots in his column? Beats me. We’ll find out in, what, four days.
Still, it warms my soft spot to know that Texas has set the pace nationally in responding to this early-vote call. It was done out of concern that Donald Trump’s re-election machine is going to muck up the ballot-counting of mail-in votes.
Democrats responded by imploring us to vote early. My wife and I did, even though we would have preferred to wait to vote in-person on Election Day. The COVID crisis, though, persuaded us to vote early and not risk getting a mail-in ballot caught up in the snail-mail delivery system.
Now comes the mad rush by the candidates — Biden and Kamala Harris on one side, and Trump and Mike Pence on the other — as they criss-cross the country in search of votes.
I am now going to relax just a bit over the next couple of days. Then I will await the returns to start pouring in on Election Night. Oh, how I want this election to turn out the correct way.
I want to salute what I hope is happening in real time all across Texas.
Reports are pouring in that early-voting totals are smashing records in large counties and small counties. Harris County’s early-vote totals are more than three times than what they were in 2014, the year of the previous midterm election. Dallas County’s early-vote count is shattering records, too. I haven’t heard what’s happening in Collin County, where I live — but I’ll presume that my neighbors are turning out, too.
Keep the votes coming
Regardless of the outcome of the midterm election, this is a good sign for the state if the early voting results portend a huge spike in the actual total turnout.
I’m going to wait until Election Day to cast my ballot. So this isn’t about me. It’s about so many other Texans who seem intent on reversing the state’s dubious distinction of producing time and again one of the country’s worst vote-turnout totals.
Texans like to boast about the bigness of everything here. Yep, the state is huge. It covers roughly 268,000 square miles. It’s more than 800 miles from Orange to El Paso, and from Dalhart to McAllen. The state is home to about 27 million residents. Its economy is rated among the top 15 national economies in the world.
If only the state could produce large voter turnout totals that merit such boastfulness. It’s usually pitiful. This year’s midterm election? Maybe not.
I have hope that the turnout will be large and that the early turnout totals aren’t a sign of just more Texans voting early, leaving Election Day voting to the scant remainder of the rest of the voting public.
It’s the idealist in me.