For the last few days, you may have been busy warding off a flurry eager people with clipboards. This weekend marked Dallas County voter registration days, and volunteers from both sides of the aisle were hustling to try to get your vote in November. They had good reason to be eager: Recruiting those eligible but unregistered voters in DFW may be crucial to determining the next election.
DFW has the largest number of eligible unregistered voters in the state. Census and Texas secretary of state data show that around 490,000 eligible voters are not registered in North Texas, compared with 355,000 in Houston, 224,000 in San Antonio and just 73,500 in Austin.
Which means DFW is attractive hunting ground for both parties. "We have a lot of volunteer engagement. They've been organizing events and knocking on doors every week. There's about 6,200 volunteers and they've knocked on about 238,000 doors," says Erica Sackin, a spokesperson for Battleground Texas. "We're working to make sure that every eligible voter is registered."
Sackin says the sheer number of DFW voters makes the North Texas vital to the November election. "It is important for us to be talking to so many voters and making sure they're getting engaged," she says. "By the reaction that we've been getting, I think people are really excited to have that opportunity to get involved in politics again."
Republicans also are increasingly focusing their efforts on the large number of potential DFW voters. Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, says there's no question that his party has been pouring resources into DFW.
"Right now we have three full time employees in Dallas, and we've not had that before," he says. Those workers are here to supplement to the Dallas County Republican Party office. "Our areas are concentrated on the movers, people who are new to our state or new to the county and they haven't registered to vote yet. So we mail them a welcome packet, and followup through our survey teams."
And that's just one effort the state party is turning its eye to DFW. "We think we have a chance for first time since 2004 to take the county," says Munisteri. "I think we have better than 50-50 chance for Abbott to win Dallas. So for the first time in several election cycles we feel very hopeful to reverse the tide."