Travis County, Texas see surge in early voting totals

Lisa Dreher and Sarah Philips

Counties across Texas are breaking early voting records, with more than 17 percent of Travis County’s registered voters casting ballots in the first three days of early voting for the Nov. 8 election.

According to data released by the Travis County Clerk’s office, 154,232 of the county’s voters cast a ballot Monday through Thursday, including mail-in ballots cast by those who can’t make it to the polls or who live outside their voting district. The Flawn Academic Center on campus saw 8,016 voters in the same time period.

On the first day of early voting in Travis County, twice the number of voters cast ballots than on the first day of early voting during the 2012 presidential election.

Biomedical engineering sophomore Evan Yu said despite his disappointment with the presidential candidates, he is voting for Republican nominee Donald Trump because of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s “old-school” political mentality. 

“I’m a little disappointed with the candidates, but it is a civic duty as a citizen to [vote],” Yu said. “I don’t think what [Trump] stands for politically is correct, but if I’m voting for Hillary, then I’m not voting for the change I want to see in this country, because she’s one of those old-school politicians that say things but don’t do things.”

Susan Macicak, UT Libraries collection development officer, said she has been voting since she was 18.

“I was very excited and happy going into the election when Barack Obama was a candidate,” Macicak said. “Working at a university, I appreciate an educated and experienced candidate.” 

Charlene Mitchell, biochemistry and pre-pharmacy freshman, said she had time between classes, so she came out to vote because of the importance of this year’s election.     

“[Voting is] something everyone should do, especially with an election like this one,” Mitchell said. “I had time in between classes so I could come out early.”

Mitchell is voting for Clinton and said she thinks having a woman in the position will be a positive move for the country. 

“Who wants Trump as president, [in] my opinion,” Mitchell said. “Let’s have a woman up there for a change.”

The deadline for mail-in voting is Friday, Oct. 28. Texas Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos is encouraging those voting by mail-in ballots to get their ballots to the county clerk’s office by Oct. 28.

“The deadline to apply to vote by mail is fast approaching, and we need to ensure that all Texas residents who qualify have the necessary information to receive their ballot,” Cascos said in a statement.

Mail-in ballots can be submitted by mail or fax. Early voting will be available to students in the FAC through Nov. 4 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters should bring their voter registration card with them to the polls. Voting resumes election day, Nov. 8, in the FAC from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.