The 2020 election saw 237,186 voters turn out for early voting out of a total of 369,796 registered voters, or 64.14%, according to unofficial results from the Montgomery County Elections Administration. That number is higher than the total number of voters in the 2016 presidential election in Montgomery County, when 208,310 total votes were recorded out of 313,858 registered voters, according to information from the county elections administration. As of Nov. 4, the total number of voters for 2020 early and Election Day voting combined was not yet available from the county.
Despite the number of early voters, Steve Leakey, a representative of the Montgomery County nonprofit Voter Awareness Council, said the county's preliminary results for Election Day-only turnout appeared lower than in previous elections.
“If you look at yesterday, the actual turnout in Montgomery County on Election Day was about a tenth [of] what the voting was during early voting. So, as it turns out, our overall turnout was 60%, 65% [unofficial], ... which is typically what it is during a presidential [election] year,” Leakey said. “I don’t really see that there’s any impact on how elections turned out. ... I think that the interesting thing was that it was, apparently, in our county, at least, more of a reflection of, ‘I just want to get it over with, and I just want to make sure that I don’t get caught in huge crowds on Election Day.’”
Leakey also highlighted the re-election of incumbents throughout the county. The only incumbent losses—excluding deceased Conroe Mayor Toby Powell, who remained on the ballot following his death—were a Conroe City Council member and two Montgomery ISD trustees. Leakey said the lack of any clear controversies linked to incumbent candidates has typically led to their success at the polls.
“I think that’s been around for years, that unless that incumbent gets [himself] or herself in trouble—and there were a couple examples of those in Montgomery County ... where people did some stupid things—that, obviously, diminishes their role as an incumbent,” he said. “If an officeholder has a reasonably good track record and is already in place and has not gotten themselves in any sorts of serious issues, it’s human nature for voters to give them the benefit of the doubt unless they have a truly compelling reason to vote them out.”
Leakey also said while the county appears to have remained solidly Republican based on early results, the local Democratic presence appears to be on the rise. However, Leakey said he believes a shift toward a bluer Montgomery County or Texas is unlikely in the near future.
A total of 71.41% of Montgomery County residents who voted Nov. 3 voted Republican in the presidential race, as compared to 27.23% for the Democratic candidate this year, according to unofficial results from the county the night of Nov. 3. In 2016, when straight-ticket voting was still an option in Texas, among straight-party voters, 79.16% voted Republican and 19.4% voted Democrat.
“I have noticed that in our county, the Democratic Party seems to be recruiting more candidates for more different positions, and over time, that will have an impact,” Leakey said. “But [for] the whole country, ... if you look at the way the media has predicted a landslide for the Democrats, and so on and so forth, they were way off base on a lot of their predictions for what was going to happen in Texas. The state House of Representatives was under threat—there was only a six-seat margin—but that was held strong.”
Rep. Kevin Brady, who was re-elected Nov. 3 for Texas' Eighth Congressional District, also commented on voter turnout and state races.
"From my perspective, I’m glad to report the blue wave crashed and burned on Texas’s red shores despite record, record turnout and an unprecedented COVID crisis. ... Republicans won their statewide races of a margin of 8 and 11 points," Brady said. "This confirms Texas as a red state.”
While further election results and turnout figures will depend on the county’s canvass report, which will be released in the coming weeks, Leakey said he had a positive perception of the election and its administration in Montgomery County.
“I really have not heard any negative things. Obviously, there were a lot of long lines, particularly that first week, but that was just people saying, ‘Hey, I want to get this done,’” he said. “In terms of the actual administration of the whole voting process, I think our Montgomery County team did a great job. There wasn't any serious breakdown of any equipment. ... They were flexible enough and able to add a couple of additional early voting sites, and that seemed to happen without any problems.”