Early voting surpasses 45,000 after seven days

More than 45,000 Cameron County voters have already cast ballots in the Nov. 3 general election, a number the County Elections Office said represents more than two-thirds of the entire early voting total in the 2016 presidential election.

If current trends hold, as many people as voted in the entire 2016 election will vote early this year, County Elections Administrator Remi Garza said, adding that early-voting totals could reach 70,000 to 80,000 out of an expected turnout of 110,000 to 120,000 for the complete election.

“We expect to get over 50% of the registered voters participating. It’s usually 46% to 48%, but this year we expect to see 70,000 to 80,000 vote early, which is normally what you would get for a complete election,” Garza said.

Monday was the seventh day of early voting at 24 locations across the county. By the end of the day, 45,475 voters had cast ballots. Early voting continues through Oct. 30, including on Saturdays and Sundays.

Garza said he expects early voting to follow the same pattern it has during other years despite the pandemic: High turnout the first few days, steady interest thereafter and the highest turnout on the final day. Voters are casting about 5,000 ballots a day compared to 4,000 daily in 2016, he said.

“It’s pretty exciting. The last Friday is usually the best day. We’re expecting 11,000 to 12,000 on the last day, so avoid lines and go now. All 24 locations are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday,” he said. This past Saturday and Sunday, voters cast 6,617 ballots.

Facial coverings and social distancing are required, with frequent sanitation of voting stations and plastic shields between voting booths. All election workers are wearing face masks and gloves and are subject to medical checkups each day.

“We’ve tried to do everything possible to make this election feel as familiar as possible,” Garza said, urging voters to review sample ballots on the county’s website and make their choices beforehand to keep wait times to a minimum.

In addition to the presidential election, this year’s ballot includes races for U.S. Senator, U.S. Rep District 34, Cameron County Sheriff and District Clerk, state judicial races, five places on the Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees, two on the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees, and three on the Brownsville Navigation District board.

Sample ballot: https://www.cameroncounty.us/elections/index.php/sample-ballots-2/

glong@brownsvilleherald.com