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Early vote shows Democrats’ enthusiasm

Thursday, March 1, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Travis County Democrats continue to show greater enthusiasm for early voting for the March 6 primary than Republican voters, with Democratic turnout comparable to the presidential election year 2016. Republican turnout is more similar to the turnout Travis County saw in 2014, which like 2018, was a gubernatorial election year. As of the end of voting on Wednesday, 39,520 Democrats and 14,537 Republicans had cast ballots. The Democratic turnout is more than 5 percent of registered voters and the Republican turnout is close to 2 percent. A spokesperson for the Travis County Clerk’s office, which oversees elections, said they were seeing “a really good Democratic turnout.” She noted that there is a get-out-the-vote rally scheduled for 1:30 this afternoon on the University of Texas campus. Students are expected to walk over to the Flawn Academic Center to vote after that rally. As of Wednesday night, 2,668 voters had cast ballots at that campus location. The location with the highest voter turnout so far has been the Randalls at Research Boulevard and Braker Lane with 2,677 Democratic votes cast and 1,484 Republican. As is often the case, the Ben Hur Shrine Center in Northwest Austin was a popular voting location with 2,596 ballots cast so far. However, the Travis County Tax Office in Pflugerville has been getting more than its usual share of the vote, probably indicating increased interest in the race between incumbent state Rep. Dawnna Dukes and challengers Sheryl Cole, Jose “Chito” Vela, Warren Baker, Casey McKinney and Ana Cortez. There also has been increased turnout at the Fiesta Central. Other voting locations with high turnout have been the Randalls at Ben White Boulevard and Manchaca Road with 2,566 Democrats and 511 Republicans casting ballots so far, as well as the Randalls stores at Brodie and Slaughter lanes and at MoPac Expressway and William Cannon Drive. Early voting continues today and tomorrow. There will be a mobile polling station open at City Hall for these last two days. The primary is on Tuesday. There were about 642,000 registered voters in Travis County in 2016’s joint primary, and now there are about 735,000 registered voters. Part of the increase is because of people moving to to Travis County but numerous volunteers worked very hard to make sure that everyone who wanted to register to vote got the opportunity. To see the numbers for yourself, go to the county clerk’s website.

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