Early voting ends with less participation than in previous presidential elections

Allie Kolechta

Early voting ended Friday, and a lower percentage of registered voters in Travis County turned out early than during the past two presidential elections.

According to reports by the Travis County Clerk’s office, 40 percent of all registered voters cast ballots early in 2004 and half voted early in 2008.

This year 37 percent of registered voters cast their ballots early. Out of a total 237,419 early ballots cast early in the county, 12,320 were cast at the Flawn Academic Center.

This year’s early voting turnout compares to a 2004 turnout of 222,085 voters and a 2008 turnout of 302,426.

Early voting, which lasted from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2, included options of in-person voting, mail-in ballots and limited ballots which included fewer options than seats up for election. In-person voting included voting at early voting locations and mobile voting locations, which only open for one day of early voting. Mobile voters made up 15,860 voters.

Some ballots are county-wide while others are only administered in certain precincts based on voter address. Ballots include the Presidential and general elections ballot, the Central Health and cities ballot and the Austin Community College, independent school districts and other entities ballot.

The Central Health ballot will include voting on Proposition 1, which would increase property taxes collected by Central Health, Travis County’s hospital district, from 7.89 cents to 12.9 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The increase would contribute $35 million toward operations at a proposed UT teaching hospital and fund medical services from medical school students and faculty for the general public.

Early voting has had a higher voter turnout than Election Day in previous years, according to data from the Travis County Clerk’s Office. In 2008, 75 percent of voters cast their ballots early, while only 25 percent voted on Election Day. That compared to 62 percent of voters choosing early voting in 2004, with 38 voting on Election Day.

Election Day is Tuesday. Voting locations can be found at the Travis County Clerk’s website, traviscountyclerk.org.

Printed on Monday, November 5, 2012 as: Fewer early ballots cast than previous elections