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Texas shatters another election record with 16.95 million registered voters

That’s a dramatic increase of 1.85 million from the 15.1 million who were registered in 2016.

AUSTIN — A historic week for voter turnout in Texas concluded with one last piece of record-setting news: 16.95 million Texans have registered to vote in this year’s elections, the Texas secretary of state’s office revealed late Friday.

That is a jump of 1.85 million from the 15.1 million registered voters in the 2016 presidential election. The final figure is just a fraction higher than the 16.9 million registered voters the agency reported earlier in the week.

The tally got a late push with the addition of nearly 300,000 registrations between Sept. 22 and Monday.

The 15.1 million registered voters in 2016 and the 16.95 million this year both amount to roughly 78% of Texas' voting-age population — registrations have grown along with the population.

A breakdown by county will be released soon and will show which parts of the state had the biggest increases, state officials said.

As for early voting, after three days of balloting, Denton County led Texas with 21% of its registered voters having cast ballots in person or by mail. The share of registered voters who had cast ballots was also noticeably high in Collin County, at 19%. Following Collin were Dallas County (15%) and Tarrant County (14%).

Add in Harris County (16%), Bexar County (14%), Travis County (16%) and El Paso County (14%), and all eight of the state’s most populous counties saw at least 14% of their registered voters cast ballots by the end of the first three days of early voting.

Through the first three days, Harris County led the way in cumulative in-person and mail voters, with 399,713. On Friday, Harris County posted its fourth straight day of turnout over 100,000, pushing its total ballot count to roughly 500,000.

This all comes after a record first day of early voting, including in Dallas County, where 59,905 people voted in person Tuesday, breaking the first-day record of 58,775 set in 2016. It wasn’t just a day one surge, either. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said 57,116 ballots were cast Thursday on day three and over 45,000 more were tacked on by 5 p.m. Friday.

In all, more than 221,000 ballots were recorded in Dallas County this week.

Tarrant County counted 42,428 ballots on Tuesday, just short of the day one record of 43,140 set in 2016.

Voters ages 50 through 69 continued to make up the majority of voters, with 40.7% of the early votes coming from that demographic, according to Ryan Data and Research, a political consulting company that focuses on voter data. Voters in the 50-69 range are the only demographic whose numbers mirror the turnout in 2016 and 2018, which also hovered close to 40%.

Voters 70 and older have made up 26.7% of early voters so far, which is significantly higher than their 17% in 2018 and 15.1% in 2016, though this was expected because more of them chose to vote by mail during the pandemic.

Voters ages 18 through 29 have made up only 8.2% of the total so far, while 30- to 49-year-olds are at 24.5%. Both of those percentages are well below the numbers posted in 2016 and 2018.

Voting started Tuesday because of Gov. Greg Abbott’s pandemic-related July order that gave Texans nearly an extra week of early voting.

Alex Briseno. Alex Briseño is covering politics in Austin for The Dallas Morning News. He was born in Seguin, Texas, and is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin. During his time at UT, Alex interned at Sports Illustrated, freelanced for newspapers across the state and spent four years at the student newspaper, The Daily Texan.

alexbriseno9898@gmail.com @alex__briseno
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