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The Rise of Early Voting in Texas Starting Slow for 2024 Presidential Primary

LM Otero | AP

In Texas, with its 254 counties statewide, we zoom in on one county in particular: Harrison County, in far East Texas.

Turnout for early voting in parts of East Texas has gotten off to a slow start since it got underway on Tuesday in Arkansas and Texas, ahead of each state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday, March 5.
In Texas, with its 254 counties statewide, we zoom in on one county in particular: Harrison County, in far East Texas. Harrison County Elections Administrator Donald Robinette says when early voting ends on Friday, March 1, he expects a good number of registered voters will have cast their ballot. “So far, my experience in years I’ve been here, usually the early voting just about matches the election day voting,” as Robinette reflects, “now, that could be irrelevant for any given election. But that’s the way it seem[s] to have worked.” Robinette gave a hypothetical example: If 3,500 people take part in early voting, about the same number of people will vote in-person on election day.
During an interview with Robinette Thursday night, he said they stood at 2.7% [1,261 votes] of all 46,116 registered voters in the county, with a full week ahead before the deadline on March 1.

U.S. Elections Project, by Michael McDonald (U of Florida)

In all, there are seven voting locations throughout Harrison County, Texas.
There’s one at the main elections office in Marshall, and then one each in six other cities which include: Hallsville, Elysian Fields, Harleton, Karnack, Waskom, and Longview.
Robinette does have a reminder for voters to keep in mind on election day: “Everybody that’s politicking or campaigning needs to be at least a hundred feet from, especially the front entrance, or the main entrance. We have distance markers out there,” as Robinette concludes, “and if somebody wants to parade by with a loudspeaker, they’re supposed to be over a thousand feet away.”
And this Friday [Feb. 23], was the final day to apply for a ballot by mail in Texas. The application must be received by February 23, not postmarked.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, and a graduate of the University of Washington, Jeff began his on-air broadcasting career 33 years ago in the Black Hills of South Dakota as a general assignment reporter.