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.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

Mayor Sylvester Turner said July 13 that he would like to see a two-week stay-home order in Houston. (Courtesy HTV)
Houston coronavirus updates: Mayor Turner seeking two-week shutdown; 1 in 4 tests coming back positive

Mayor Turner made a series of announcements July 13 related to COVID-19 precautions.

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 2,001 cases, 8 deaths confirmed July 13

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact Newspaper' seeks feedback and more Houston-area business, community news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news here.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

The Houston Federation of Teachers wants the 2020-21 school year to begin with virtual learning and continue as such until case numbers decline. (Courtesy Rubén Rodriguez/Unsplash)
Teachers union: Houston ISD should offer virtual learning until case numbers flatten

The recommendations come two days ahead of Houston ISD's official plans.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact' now seeking feedback from parents, teachers regarding 2020-21 school year

Help us adequately cover local education by submitting feedback here:

The Texas Republican Convention was originally scheduled for July 16-18. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Texas Supreme Court rejects GOP appeal to host convention in Houston

The potentially 6,000-person event has drawn criticism in recent weeks from officials who perceive it as a threat to public safety.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo spoke about the county's continuing response to COVID-19 and a new small-business coronavirus relief program at a July 13 press conference. (Screenshot via Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management)
Harris County now accepting applications for $30M small-business assistance program

Harris County businesses with fewer than 30 employees may apply for funding through July 24.

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12. (Community Impact Staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: After three weeks of surging cases, death toll starts to rise

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12.

Here is the latest information on how and where to find coronavirus testing locations in Houston. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing: Where to find testing sites in Houston the week of July 13

Here is the latest information on how and where to find coronavirus testing locations in Houston

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.