UPDATED: Vote totals continue to lag 2015 numbers after first week of early voting in Harris County

Harris County officials are planning for record-breaking voter turnout in Houston's municipal elections.

Harris County officials are planning for record-breaking voter turnout in Houston's municipal elections.

One week into the early voting period of Nov. 5 elections, overall turnout is down from 2015, the last time a mayoral election took place in the Greater Houston area.

A total of 62,736 ballots were cast across Harris County by the end of the day Oct. 27, according to the Harris County clerk's office. The vote total is down from the 82,143 ballots cast from the same time in 2015.

A total of 6,799 mail-in ballots were returned after the first week of early voting this year compared to 21,141 after the first week in 2015, according to Harris County data. Teneshia Hudspeth, administrator of communications and voter outreach with the Harris County clerk's office, said officials noticed a decrease in the amount of mail ballot requests this election cycle. The last day to apply for a ballot by mail was Friday, Oct. 25.

In-person voter turnout is also down slightly from 2015 with 55,937 voters casting ballots so far, compared to 61,002 votes at this time in 2015.

The election this November will be the first countywide election during which Harris County will use its countywide polling place program, which will allow voters to cast ballots at any polling place within the county on Election Day.

Harris County officials said they are expecting record turnout this year, partially due to the new program and partially due to a ballot that will feature the mayoral race, HISD board seats and 16 contested races for Houston City Council. The countywide polling place program only affects voting on Election Day and not early voting, so any increase in turnout would not be noticed until Election Day ballots are counted.

In addition to local races, voters will also decide on 10 state propositions this year.

An estimated 20.5% of registered voters cast ballots in Harris County during the 2015 mayoral election, a total of 421,460 voters. Turnout was lower in November 2017 at 6.7%, or 150,174 votes. The 2017 ballot largely consisted of local propositions and elections for school boards and utility districts.

So far in 2019, the following polling locations have seen the highest turnout:

  • Metropolitan Multiservice Center: 4,872

  • Trini Mendenhall Community Center: 3,093

  • Kingwood Community Center: 2,703

  • Fiesta Mart Inc: 2,439

  • Freeman Branch Library: 2,354

Early voting continues from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1. Find a list of polling locations here.

Election Day is 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 5.

This story will be updated throughout the early voting period.


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