County sees spike in voter turnout

Collin Eaton

This year’s early voting turnout in Travis County during the first three days nearly doubled the turnout during the same time of the 2006 midterm elections, but the University early voting booths posted only a 4.5-percent increase over the 2006 election cycle, when Democrats took control of both the U.S. House and Senate.

More than 36,000 Travis County voters have cast their ballot so far, out of about 594,000 registered voters. Mary Fero, spokeswoman for the Travis County Clerk’s Office, said the election is more competitive than in previous elections but did not speculate on what is driving the increase in turnout.

“There’s clearly a lot of interest in the election,” Fero said. “It may just be a more competitive election all around.”

UT landed in the middle range of Travis County voting hot spots, with only 1,578 in the first three days — less than every Randalls and H-E-B voting booth in the county. In 2006, 17 percent of Travis County voters turned out for early voting, and UT voting booths outpaced all but two Randalls locations in the first three days.

After casting his ballot in the FAC, history freshman Moses Lira said he voted early because the timing was convenient and midterms are landing around election day.

“I wanted to just get this out of the way,” Lira said. “It’s very important that I come out here and cast my vote at some point, especially now with the political climate as it is.”

Government junior Brandon Turner also cast a ballot at the FAC and said because he is volunteering for the Lloyd Doggett campaign on election night, Wednesday was the most convenient time to vote.

“Today was the easiest day to come out and vote,” Turner said. “I don’t think most of the elections in Texas are that competitive — I’m more pumped to see what happens in other parts of the country.”

— Additional reporting by Audrey White