Editor’s note: This article by Bob Moore was originally published in the El Paso Times Nov. 5. It is reprinted here with permission of the El Paso Times.
Women and younger voters who did not vote in 2012 fueled El Paso’s record-shattering early voting turnout.
An El Paso Times analysis of county election records shows that the number of voters under age 30 doubled from 2012, to almost 20,000.
Fifty-seven percent of early voters were women, up from 55 percent in 2012.
More than 50,000 voters – essentially the entire increase in El Paso’s early voting – did not cast ballots here four years ago.
Twenty-eight percent of the new voters were under the age of 30. Fifty-seven percent were women.
Early voting began Oct. 24 and ended Friday. The early voting began and ended with record-setting days.
Despite a blustery day that saw major hail storms in much of the county, 16,926 people cast early ballots on Friday. That topped the previous in-person voting record of 16,206 set on Oct. 25, the second day of early voting this year.
El Paso recorded 151,078 in-person and mailed ballots during the early voting period, an increase of 57 percent over 2012 and 32 percent higher than 2008, the previous best year for early voting in El Paso.
Only Travis County (Austin) had a higher turnout growth percentage than El Paso among Texas’ 15 largest counties, according to data from the Secretary of State’s Office. Travis County had a 60 percent increase in early voting over 2012.
Early voting turnout was up 32 percent for the 15 largest counties. The three border counties on the list – El Paso, Hidalgo (McAllen) and Cameron (Brownsville) – saw a 46 percent increase in early voting, compared to 31 percent for the 12 non-border counties.
Election Day is on Tuesday, and neighborhood polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in El Paso. A list of those polling places will be published in Sunday’s El Paso Times Borderland section, and also is available at the county election’s website, www.epcountyvotes.com. If you’re not sure of your polling place, you can look it up on the county elections website or call 915-546-2154.