Houston residents hit the polls Nov. 5 to cast votes for city council members, the mayor and state constitutional amendments.
Early voting got off to a slightly slower start than the previous municipal election in 2015 with 55,937 voters casting ballots in the first week, compared to 61,002 votes by the same time in 2015.
By the end of the early voting period, however, a total 164,284 voters cast ballots in person or sent mail-in responses, down about 15% from the number in 2015.
Harris County officials had said they were expecting record turnout this year, partially because of the new program and partially because of an packed ballot that featuring a mayoral race, Houston ISD 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.
As of 4 p.m. on Election Day, Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman reported over 140,000 ballots had been cast, putting the total close to 300,000 voters.
In 2015, 421,460 voters cast ballots, which was about 20 percent of the city's electorate, Harris County election records show. A statement released by Trautman Nov. 1 stated that Election Day results may face delays in getting tallied. Check the Community Impact Newspaper website for updates throughout the Election Day reporting process. Polls close at 7 p.m.
Here's what some Houstonians had to say about hitting the polls on Election Day:
“The city elections are probably the most important because everything is impacted on a local level and I think a lot of people realize how important it is to get out and vote in these elections. It’s not just the presidential primaries that you should be focused on. It’s definitely important who is on the city council and who is your mayor."
— John Willms, voting at Metropolitan Service Center
“I think it’s important to vote in these non-presidential elections because its your community and it’s where you live. These are the people making decisions for you.”
—Cassidy Staggers, voting at Metropolitan Service Center
“I’m voting for the mayor [race], I’m voting for a friend and I’m curious about the [state] propositions too.”
— Tiffany Utterson, voting at First Church Heights
"I'm looking for a change of the guard, especially at the mayor's seat. I want to see more transparency overall. It always seems like the same contractors and players are at the table and it makes it harder for smaller companies to move up."
— David Lewis, voting at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
"I voted today because all elections matter. If you don’t vote, you shouldn’t complain one bit. In Houston we have a myriad of problems from infrastructure issues to homelessness to flooding. You should have a say in what happens in our community."
— Scott Harbison, voting at Northbrook High School