Voters came out in record numbers yet again Wednesday, casting a total of 40,186 ballots, according to Texas Secretary of State statistics. This represents an increase of nearly 22% from the third day of the 2008 and 2012 general elections.
In Bexar County, turnout tends to slow after the second day of early voting, reaching a low-point over the weekend and then rising to a peak the following Friday. Wednesday’s turnout broke that trend, however, jumping by 4% from the previous day and marking the third-highest turnout in the county’s early voting history.
The first and second days of the early voting period also climbed 15% from the previous presidential election, with 35,431 and 38,603 votes cast, respectively.
The rising numbers primarily reflect growth in voter registration, which from 2004 to 2012 sat at a little more than 900,000 but surged to 1,045,360 by 2016. A slight increase in the percentage of voters casting their ballots early also accounts for a portion of the change.
These numbers do not include mail-in votes, which by Tuesday had reached 18,703, a 43% increase from 2012. Wednesday’s mail-in count has not yet been published, but total early voting turnout is estimated to be around 135,000, about 13% of registered voters.
The boost fits a state-wide trend, which Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen attributes to the high emotions stoked by this year’s controversial presidential election.
According to Associated Press data, turnout has reached new highs nationally as well, with 13.4 million votes cast already in the 37 states that practice early voting. Many analysts believe the high early turnout will favor Hillary Clinton in battleground states and even some typically red states like Utah and Texas. Since Texas has historically seen one of the lowest turnout rates in the nation – with serious underrepresentation by Latino citizens – there is room for major shifts in election outcomes if newly registered voters continue to show up in large numbers.
Early voters can cast their ballots at any one of these 43 locations through Friday, Nov. 4, but citizens must vote in their respective precincts come election day on Nov. 8. To see where lines are likely to be shortest, check out this breakdown in votes cast by location.