AUSTIN, Texas - As Election Day approaches, the Texas Secretary of State says 5.4 million ballots have already been cast during early voting.
Both Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and his opponent Democrat Beto O'Rourke are on the road. Leaders from both parties say it's not just the governor's race that's important - races up and down the ballot are important.
Besides the governor's race, there are races for U.S. Representatives and local offices, like Austin mayor and City Council, as well as multiple school bonds. Other state offices on the ballot include Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, Land Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner (who doesn't oversee railroads, rather oil and gas), and Comptroller (state tax collector).
This year, early voting turnout is lower than it was in the 2018 midterms. In Travis and Williamson counties, it's about 10 percent lower than it was four years ago. In Hays County, it's about eight percent lower.
"The issues haven't changed. The candidates haven't changed, but the priority on turnout has changed. When a lot of people haven't voted, it means that there's a greater number of people who can still vote on Election Day. So, if [a candidate has] any money, remember the goal of a campaign is to spend that account down to zero. If you have any money left over, you have to make sure you're spending it all on get out the vote," Brian Smith, political science professor at St. Edward's University, said.
YOU DECIDE 2022
- 2022 Voter Guide: What you need to know before you vote this Election Day
- 2022 Midterm Elections: Texas statewide office elections
- 2022 Midterm Elections: County judge races
- 2022 Midterm Elections: Texas House representative races
- 2022 Midterm Elections: Texas State Senator races
Leaders from both parties shared their thoughts ahead of early voting.
"This is going to be the closest statewide election, I believe, in a generation. Number two, this is a consequential election," Jamarr Brown, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said.
"[We're] having to change the direction of this country back to where we were... I think this is going to be a better year for us than in previous elections," Andy Hogue, communications director for Travis County Republican Party, said.
"We're working to lower prices... We're fighting to make sure that women can make their own decisions," Brown said. "We're the party that's talking about fixing the grid, and we're talking about making sure that students and teachers, when they go to school to teach and learn, are actually safe."
"People are having a hard time not only paying the bills, not only paying for groceries, but also dialing 911 lately, they're getting voicemail. So, we're seeing a lot of crossover support," Hogue said. "Inflation is out of control. Law enforcement has been cut."
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. To find your voting location, sample ballot, and more, click here.