Harris County shattered its single-day early voting record Tuesday, as more than 128,000 people headed to the polls on the first day of early voting and more continued to wait in line well after the polls closed.
The county had reached a new first-day early voting as of 2 p.m., and as of 7:45 p.m. — 45 minutes after polls closed, as people still stood in line waiting to cast their ballot — 128,186 people had been unofficially tallied, representing more than 5% of all 2.4 million Harris County voters.
Some voters are still at the polls, but it’s looking like more people voted today in Harris County (>128,000) than on the first day of Early Voting in the ENTIRE STATE OF GEORGIA. Kind of a big deal.
— Chris Hollins (@CGHollins) October 14, 2020
On the first day of early voting, Harris County reports 128,186 persons voted in person, 41,337 mail ballots were returned, for a total of 169,523 early voters.
The previous one-day record is 100,005 votes on the last day of the 2016 election, according to the office of Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins. The previous record for the first day of early voting was 67,471, also in 2016.
Texas is one of just five states in the U.S. that didn’t expand mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many to fear a depressed in-person turnout. The state is also in the middle of a series of election lawsuits — the latest one filed by the Texas Republican Party in an attempt to limit curbside voting.
But the first-day turnout was a promising sign for the Greater Houston area, and for Texas as a whole, which now has about 17 million registered voters after adding nearly 300,000 to the rolls since just Sept. 22, as the Texas Newsroom’s Ashley Lopez reported.
Polls in Harris County open again Wednesday at 7 a.m., and close at 7 p.m. The last day of early voting is Oct. 30.
Election Day is Nov. 3.