Saturday, February 27, 2010

Early Vote Totals Are Higher Than in 2006

Now that Early Voting for the March 2nd primaries is over, it looks like voter interest remains elevated. Not, obviously, as high as it was in 2008 where records were set up and down the state, but compared to the last mid-term primary election in 2006, yes, voter interest is high.

The Houston Chronicle has the Harris County figures here, but I will summarize the results of my number crunching in Fort Bend County.

In Harris County the Chronicle is reporting a high turnout for the mid-term primary election with 84,018 early vote ballots cast this year as compared to 33,362 cast in the previous mid-term election in 2006.

The Chronicle also breaks down early voter totals by party: 33,771 Democratic voters showed up to early vote compared to 50,250 Republican voters.

But while the Chronicle breaks down the 2010 Early Vote numbers by party, they didn’t compare those numbers to 2006 numbers by party.

Comparing these numbers to those in the area of my more immediate concern, neighboring Fort Bend County, we are seeing a similar overall trend, but truly startling numbers in the Democratic Primary early vote.

In Fort Bend County a total of 16,520 voters early voted in the past two weeks. This is an increase over 2006 where a total of 10,721 voters cast their ballots in the gubernatorial primary election.

Now at a 54% increase over 2006 early vote numbers this isn’t the 150% increase in total early voter turnout seen in Harris County, but it still is rather significant.

But broken down by party the early vote totals comparison between the 2006 and 2010 elections are far more telling.

In 2006, 1619 Democratic party early votes were cast in Fort Bend County. In 2010 the total Democratic early votes cast number 5114 – a 216% increase. And while far more numerous Republican voters early voted this year, at 11,406 ballots cast, that is only a 25% increase over the 9102 Republican early vote ballots in 2006.

In other words, interest is higher in this year’s primary election across the board, but among Democratic voters in Fort Bend County, interest has skyrocketed.

The trouble is, it is still unclear what this all means, but here is what I hope it all means. Democrats are still fighting for Change, not only change in the way the state and local governments behave, but also change in the way the Democratic Party and some of its elected officials behave.

One dares to hope.

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