AUSTIN, Texas - Early voting for primary elections in Texas ends this Friday, and Travis County is on track to shatter its record for voter turnout.
“We had a little over 90,000 people vote in the primary for 2016, a little over 80,000 vote in the primary election for 2018 and we are going to see 100,000 people vote in the primary for 2020,” forecasted Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir.
As of Monday, more than 52,000 people have cast their vote in Travis County, more than 40,000 Democrats and under 12,000 Republicans.
“Because Texas matters,” said St. Edward’s University political science professor Brian Smith of the high turnout. “It’s a case where the Texas primary is on ‘Super Tuesday.’ It's a case where next to California, [Texas] is the biggest state in the game... Texas really has a big chance in selecting the nominee. Also, we're looking at a chance where all the candidates are still in play. Sure, Sanders has had some early wins. But, when you look at the delegate count, anybody can win this thing.”
Some voters believe that is cause for worry, with so many candidates still in the running to become the Democratic nominee and the South Carolina primary looming ahead of Super Tuesday. However, Smith says unless you plan on voting for a candidate who is long gone, there is no need to worry.
Of the top candidates, he says “every one of those has a chance.”
"With the Democrats, it's not winner-take-all. You get 15 percent of the vote in Texas. And then, in some of the state senate districts, you can pick up delegates -- and it isn't a race for popular votes. It is a race for delegates," Smith said. "So, anything can happen. Even a candidate who gets 15 to 20 percent of the vote can still have a lot of impact in extending the race, making other candidates change positions or actually causing us to have a brokered convention.”
DeBeauvoir encourages people to vote early. “It is truly nonsensical to postpone voting when you know, you can go and vote right now. We're voting thousands of people today with barely any lines at all," she said.
There are 34 early voting locations in Travis County.