By the end of early voting on Friday, 16,452 Democrats cast ballots in-person or by mail, whereas only 4,529 Democrats voted in the same manner during the 2014 early voting period, according to the Secretary of State. Early voting turnout for Republicans also increased, growing from 16,293 voters in 2014 to 20,134 voters in 2018.
Though it is difficult to say for certain what caused this rise in Democratic turnout, there may be several influencing factors such as swelling populations, increased number of viable candidates and changes in campaign strategies, County Elections Administrator John Oldham said.
“The thing that drives turnout, largely, is how many contested races there are,” he said. “This time we have several, so when we have a different type of group of candidates for, say, governor or U.S. Senate, maybe people view them as being more credible and they want to support.”
Typically, more voters go to the polls during the early voting period than on election day, Oldham said.
“If the numbers follow, we’d be looking at a turnout of somewhere between 25,000-30,000 tomorrow,” he said.
Voters can find information about polling locations, sample ballots and identification requirements at the Fort Bend County Elections Department website. Polls open at 7 a.m. March 6 for regular voting.