Through 12 days of early voting, turnout for the 2022 midterm elections is lower than in 2018, according to unofficial data from the Harris County Office of the Elections Administrator.

Including in-person voters and mail-in ballots, 750,349 people have voted early this year, compared to 855,711 in 2018; 29.8% of registered voters have voted early in 2022, down from 37.1% in 2018.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said turnout has been down across the state and that voters in Texas are generally reluctant to vote in midterm elections.

“It’s hard to get people to vote in midterm elections, despite the fact that it’s really important, and there are a lot of critical races that are on the ballot,” Rottinghaus said. “[This year’s turnout] is kind of keeping with the historical pattern we’ve seen before. The last couple of cycles we’ve seen turnout increase, but those could be just an anomaly.”

The county did see a bump in voter turnout during the final three days of early voting, with all three surpassing the totals from the same days in 2018. According to Leah Shah, the director of communications for the elections office, the last day of early voting had greater turnout than in any single-day turnout in 2018.

“We anticipate a strong turnout on Election Day. In 2018, we saw 53% turnout and are currently on track to match that this election [with a turnout of around] 48[%]-53%,” Shah said in a statement.

Voter turnout in the 2018 midterms was 52.86%, compared to just 33.65% in 2014 and 41.67% in 2010, according to archived data from the elections office.

Residents could choose to vote at any of the 99 early voting locations this year thanks to the implementation of countywide voting in 2019. The top visited site was the West Gray Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, with over 22,000 voters casting a ballot, followed closely behind by the Richard and Meg Weekley Community Center in Cypress.

On Election Day, 782 polling locations will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Find more information about the candidates and ballot items before Election Day in the Community Impact voter guide.