AUSTIN (KXAN) — Friday is the final day to vote early before Election Day on Tuesday and the Travis County Clerk has big concerns about voter turnout. While it started out strong during the first week of early voting the number of voters coming back to the polls after the weekend significantly dropped off.
“That’s unusual and could lead to really long lines on Election Day because at this point voters might be thinking they will just come out then,” said Dana DeBeauvoir, Travis County Clerk.
The first day of early voting in Travis County saw 47,019 voters cast a ballot. But compare that to the following Monday where it dropped by nearly half to 25,404 coming to vote and throughout the week the numbers have remained less than 30,000. Same thing in Williamson County where a large turnout of 24,250 voters came out on day one of early voting but dropped to 10,869 one week later.
Still, early voting numbers are record breaking in Central Texas. In Travis County 328,681 voters have cast a ballot. That amounts to 45.10% of registered voters. In Hays County, 122,300 voters have gone to the polls which is 39% of voters. And in Williamson County 146,021 or 47.65% have cast a ballot.
Through Wednesday, though, more than 3.6 million Texans had voted in the state’s 15 largest counties alone. That accounts for 37 percent of all registered voters in Texas and already exceeds the record 3.5-plus million early votes cast before the 2008 election.
DeBeauvoir is encouraging voters to go to the polls Friday to avoid long lines on Election Day. She recommends finding a location that often has short wait times like libraries.
One other thing the county clerk wants to remind voters is to leave your Make America Great Again hats and Nasty Women t-shirts at home.
“I know it doesn’t have their name on it, it doesn’t matter it’s still campaign material,” said DeBeauvoir. “So for all the women who want to wear their Nasty Women t-shirts into the polling places you can’t do that, that is campaign material please leave it at home.”
Several polling workers have reported they had to ask voters to turn their t-shirts inside out or put their hat in their pocket.
Polls are open from 7a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where to Vote
Registered and eligible voters may vote at ANY early voting location located in the county of residence. Find out where you can cast your ballot by going here. Hours will vary by location.
In Travis County, there are a total of 30 early voting sites as well as 91 mobile locations and four mega-site locations. Click here to find the closest early voting site near you.
In Williamson County, click here to find the closest early voting site near you.
In Hays County, click here to find the closest early voting site near you.
Cap Metro is offering free help to push people to vote ahead of election day. Route your trip here.
Local Items that Impact You
Over the past few months, KXAN News has covered the items on the ballot that will impact you directly. From Austin’s Transportation Bond (Prop 1) to Hays County’s push for a bond to expand the jail as well as emergency response times. Click here for a full list of local election stories that might be on your ballot.