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Texas Early Voting Could Set Record

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By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-888278.mp3

Dallas, TX – Texas early voting is in record-setting territory for a gubernatorial primary. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more.

Early voting turnout for tomorrow's primary election is nearly twice what it was 4 years ago. Randall Dillard, with the Texas Secretary of State's office, says 491,000 citizens voted early in the state's top 15 counties, which include Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin. He says 4 years, ago, early turnout was roughly half that, at 251,000 votes.

Dillard: 413We don't know if it's just an issue of voters like the convenience of early voting or if there is a lot of interest and more people will show up in the polls and we'll have higher numbers than we had in the final count of the 2006 elections.

Republican early turnout in North Texas is higher than the Democratic turnout. But that's typical. Jonathan Neerman, who heads Dallas County's Republican Party, says what is not typical is that Republican turnout, in Dallas anyway, is 3 times what it was compared to 4 years ago.

Neerman: At it's heart, voters are very concerned about what they're seeing coming out of the Democrats in Washington and they want to make sure we don't see that here in Texas.

Early Democratic turnout in Dallas is also up from 2006: more than double. Dallas Democratic Chair Darlene Ewing says she's not concerned.

Ewing: If you go back to 06 they out-voted us in the primary but we swept them in November. And of course they've got a much more intense gubernatorial race than we do.

Tea Party activists this year did not exist 4 years ago, which could be adding to a larger conservative turnout. And there could be additional Democrats this election, thanks to those who joined the party when Barack Obama ran.

Email Bill Zeeble