Dallas Voters Appear to Have Perked Up a Little for Saturday’s Mayoral Election

Campaign signs abound outside Reverchon Park in Oak Lawn ahead of 2017's Dallas City Council election.EXPAND
Campaign signs abound outside Reverchon Park in Oak Lawn ahead of 2017's Dallas City Council election.
Joe Pappalardo
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Dallas' final early-voting numbers are in, and while they don't show a wave of new voters like the one that hit Texas' polls in 2018, they do reflect an electorate that seems at least a little more engaged than it was during city elections in 2015 and 2017.

According to Dallas County data, 45,733 Dallas residents casts ballots, either by mail or in person, during the early voting period. With help from a handy spreadsheet put together by D Magazine, we know those 46,000 or so voters make up about 7.5 percent of the total number of registered voters in Dallas.

Obviously, sub-10% turnout is not ideal, but it does represent a significant improvement over comparable numbers from previous elections.

At this point in 2017 — after early voting but before election day itself — 23,355 Dallas residents had cast ballots in their respective City Council races. In 2015, 19,050 people voted early in the race between Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and attorney Marcos Ronquillo.  

Dallas turnout in 2015 ended up being about 6%, the worst in the country, according to a 2017 study from Portland State University. This year's turnout already appears to have cleared that threshold, but we won't know by how much until Saturday night.

As one might expect, given the buckets of money that have poured into the North Dallas City Council race between incumbent Jennifer Gates and former Mayor Laura Miller, a significant plurality of the votes cast so far have been in District 13. Almost 18% of all votes cast early in Dallas have been cast in the North Dallas district, which has seen almost 15% of its registered voters already show up.

Voters in downtown and East Dallas have shown up at the next-highest rates. But the 9,808 voters who cast ballots in District 9 (East Dallas) and District 14 (downtown, Uptown and Lower Greenville) are only a little more than the 8,044 who have voted in the Gates-Miller race.

For better or worse, it looks like voters in North and East Dallas are going to have an outsized say on who represents the whole city as mayor. No southern or western Dallas Council district has seen more than 3,200 voters show up to the polls, including District 1, the North Oak Cliff home of mayoral candidate Scott Griggs. Just more than 1,100 voters have cast ballots in District 5, the Pleasant Grove district that has an open seat following Rickey Callahan's decision not to run for a fourth term. 

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