Voter turnout in Travis County breaks primary election records

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Photo Credit: Christina Ke | Daily Texan Staff

The primary elections brought record turnouts in Travis County as a majority of people voted on Super Tuesday rather than during the early voting period.

Travis County totaled over 267,000 votes for Republicans and Democrats, according to the Travis County Clerk cumulative results. While only 5% of registered Republicans turned out for the election, 27% of registered Democrats attended. 

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said it was a record turnout, with a larger number of votes than in 2018 and in the Democratic primaries in 2016, where votes totaled around 230,000, according to the Travis County Clerk Official Results. 

DeBeauvoir said that while Travis County prefers to get about 60% of their votes in during early voting to avoid congestion, 124,000 citizens voted early for this election while over 132,000 voted on Tuesday. 

Super Tuesday traffic was prevalent at several polling locations like those at Randalls Grocery stores, where evening lines saw three-hour waits and the final ballots were cast at around 10:15 p.m., DeBeauvoir said.

“By cramming everybody into … one, election day, and then at that level, after 5 o’clock, this just crushes the system,” DeBeauvoir said. “It’s like rush hour on a freeway … there’s nobody going anywhere, and no government can handle that capacity crushed in all at once.” 

DeBeauvoir said most of the time, lines at the UT locations of Perry-Castañeda Library and the Flawn Academic Center moved relatively swiftly and were aided by extra polling booths and check-in resources.

“The UT students did a great job this time of sort of spreading themselves out and using all of the resources that county government provided,” DeBeauvoir said. “They only had wait times that were really noticeable during the last two days and then on Election Day.”

 

During early voting, the PCL had 3,461 people vote while the FAC had 5,710. Although DeBeauvoir did not yet have official numbers on voter demographics, she said there was a noticeable turnout of young voters.

“For so many years, we’ve tried everything we need to get 18 to 30-year-olds to vote, and they just would have none of it,” DeBeauvoir said. “Finally, they’re turning out to vote, so it’s pretty thrilling.”

Chemistry graduate student Sarah Moor said she has voted in elections since she was 18 but started trying to vote in smaller races along with larger elections when she came to UT. She said she loves having voting locations on campus because it makes the process easier.

“I was just talking to one of my graduate student friends, and she had to drive to one location, it was closed, (so then) she had to drive downtown,” Moor said. “I just bike everywhere, so I think it would be really hard for me to go elsewhere (to vote).”

Radio-television-film junior Justin Powell voted on Tuesday at the FAC and said he waited about 20 minutes to get to the door. He said he was specifically drawn to vote by the Senate elections.

“I vote in every election,” Powell said. “It’s just simply a thing that I’m expected to do. I don’t really have to think about if I should or should not vote.”