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Early voting spikes in Texas: Polls of Beto O’Rourke, Ted Cruz election

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Beto O'Rourke
Rep.
Beto O’Rourke is running for Senate in Texas against Ted
Cruz.

Richard W.
Rodriguez/AP


  • Early voting began on Monday in Texas, the country’s most
    populous red state, where 15.6 million people are registered to
    vote in the midterm elections next month. 
  • Some reports indicated on Monday that the state is seeing to
    higher-than-normal voter turnout, likely fueled by intense
    interest in the US Senate race between incumbent Republican Ted
    Cruz and Rep. Beto O’Rourke. 
  • Based on early voting turnout in recent midterm elections,
    about 3 million Texans are expected to cast their ballots before
    Election Day (and between 5 and 6 million in total). 

Early voting began on Monday in Texas, the country’s most
populous red state, where 15.6 million people are registered to
vote in the midterm elections next month. 

Some reports indicated on Monday that the state is seeing to
higher-than-normal voter turnout. The
Houston Chronicle likened
the nearly 2,000 people —
many of whom 
camped out — outside an early voting
location in Houston on Monday morning to a Black Friday
shopping crowd. 

That group may have been energized by Rep. Beto O’Rourke,
the El Paso Democrat challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in a
race that has attracted by far the most national attention of any
contest in the state. 

O’Rourke showed up across
the street from the Houston voting location on Monday morning to
deliver words of encouragement to his supporters.

In Texas, early voting is more popular than lining up for the
ballot box on Ellison Day — in 2016, 73.5% of votes
were cast before Election Day. In the 2014 midterms,
54.1% of votes
 were cast early.

The state has added more than 1.6 million registered voters to
its rolls since the 2014 midterms, but Texas has one of
the lowest
voter turnout rates
 in the country — it ranked 47th in
the US in 2016.

In the last four midterm elections (which attract even fewer
voters than presidential years),
between 
33.6%
and 38%
 of registered voters cast their
ballots. 
If that type of rate holds constant,
between 5.2 and 5.9 million Texans will vote in November’s
elections, and about 3 million will cast their ballots
early.

O’Rourke, who’s raised more money than any Senate candidate in
history — and
a shocking $38 million
in the third quarter — has for months
attracted widespread national attention with video clips of him

defending the free speech rights of NFL players
 and
skateboarding in a parking lot going viral online. 

Unlike Cruz, O’Rourke has banned donations from corporate
political action committees, making the size of his campaign war
chest even more impressive.

But recent polls have Cruz ahead of O’Rourke by between five
and
nine
points — an indication of how difficult it is for a
progressive to win statewide office in Texas. 

Early voting also began on Monday in Alaska, Arkansas,
Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and
Washington, DC. Texans can cast their ballots until November
2 and on Election Day, which is November 6.

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