By the time polls closed at 7 p.m. Friday night, 514,330 Dallas County residents had cast their ballots early, setting a new record for the county. The previous record for votes cast before election day was 477,228, set in 2008. In 2012, almost 99,000 fewer Dallas County voters cast their lots before election day.
“I’m proud of the work everyone has done to make this year’s early voting participation a record success. Voting is safe, secure and easy. Your friends and neighbors will ask you if you voted after the election, so don't forget to vote,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who's pushed voters to avoid election day lines throughout the process, said Friday night.
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The numbers in Dallas mirror those across the state, where voters in Texas' urban counties have turned out in force. Travis County (Austin), Harris County (Houston), Bexar County (San Antonio), Tarrant County and Collin County all set records as well.
Texas doesn't require or record party registration, so making any direct extrapolations based on the data from early voting is impossible, but signs point to a huge turnout, which could be a boon to Democrats locked in competitive races.
Those 514,330 people who voted early in Dallas County represent a 40 percent turnout in the county already. In the 2014 midterms, only 32 percent of Dallas County voters showed up to vote, either during early voting or on election day. In 2008 and 2012, almost 300,000 Dallas County voters showed up to vote on election day. If 275,000 show up Tuesday, Dallas County will turn out at a more than 61 percent clip, about a two percent increase from 2012.
The increase, though modest, would come in the face of Texas' voter ID restrictions, which are being enforced during a presidential election for the first time in 2016.