AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texans voted in the presidential election more than they voted during 2016, an unprecedented increase in the number of early voting in a state that was once Republican. most trusted of the country, but can now be drifting back to the battlefield state.
More than 9 million votes were cast on Friday morning in the nation’s second most populous state, exceeding 8,969,226 votes in 2016, according to an Associated Press statistics on early voting from the data. provided by Texas officials.
Texas was the first state to reach this milestone. The numbers this year were supported by Democrats who challenged court and won the right to vote one more week in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas also only offers limited mail voting options compared to the rest of the country, meaning direct voting, early voting is the primary way to vote for those who don̵7;t want to queue up and do the same. so on Election Day. .
Texas voters are not partisan, so no one can be sure until the votes are tally counted whether one or the other will benefit from the soaring voter turnout.
However, the fact that the state has exceeded its total number of votes over the past presidential cycle, there are still many hours left in the early voting phase that ends Friday and before millions are likely. ability to vote on Election Day, hints about a potential sea of voting changes.
For Democrats, anything different is likely to be positive. The party has not won a state office in Texas since 1994 – the nation’s longest chain of political failures – nor has it seen one of its presidential candidates take power since Jimmy Carter entered 1976. The party now believes it has a chance to take control of the House of Representatives, flipping six seats of Congress and one Senate seat.
President Donald Trump outperformed Texas against Hillary Clinton in 2016 with a comfortable 9 points, though that’s the slightest gap since Republican Bob Dole beat Democratic President Bill Clinton by 5 points in 1996. .
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has for months asserted that Texas, with 38 electoral votes, is one of the traditional conservative states it is seeking to overthrow – despite Arizona for a long time. and North Carolina is still more optimistic. Biden’s executive partner, California Senator Kamala Harris, will visit Fort Worth, Houston and McAllen’s US-Mexico border town on Friday, just four days before Election Day, using the valuable campaign time in the state much later than any major national Democrat decades.
However, the news may not be positive for Democrats.
The spike in early voting was most evident in suburban districts around Dallas and in areas outside of Austin, especially in the areas south towards San Antonio. One area that hasn’t seen a spike in votes yet, however, is the Rio Grande Valley, where Harris will be. Its population is around 90% Mexican American and it is one of the youngest and fastest growing regions of the state.
In Hidalgo County, including McAllen, early voting is up only about 1% from 2016, although it takes an extra week to do so – far below an increase of at least 15% in nearly every county. Another big Texas.
The absence of voters there – especially when the rest of the state is breaking records – could cause problems for Biden as well as Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, who is trying to topple the Senate. Longtime Republican Dr. John Cornyn. The region is purely Democrat, even though many of their Latin-American voters tend to be a bit more conservative than many of their peers in other parts of Texas or the country.
It is also one of the areas most severely affected in the nation by coronavirus and has seen new cases soar in recent weeks as in many parts of the country.
Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman and Democratic presidential nominee who has disappointed Republicans within 3 percentage points compared to the Republican Senator, said: “They have to Place bodies in FEMA trailers that are refrigerated because space is running out in morgue and funeral homes. Ted Cruz in 2018 – and could have closed that gap if he found more Hispanics in the Rio Grande Valley.
O’Rourke added: “This part of Texas has seen the cruelty of the Trump administration and its poor leadership.
Recent polls show Biden topping Trump among Latinos in places like Florida, but follows the level of support Clinton received from the community in 2016. The former vice president was in Florida on Thursday. Year and note that 20% of the country’s population is currently Hispanic.
“It’s our future and we should invest in the future,” Biden told reporters while campaigning in Fort Lauderdale. “The better the community, the better the country does”.
Weissert reporting from Washington.