Voters are fired up — and that enthusiasm was borne out in Monday morning’s record-shattering early voting tallies across the state.
And that makes sense — 15,793,257 people are registered to vote in this November’s election, a record number. In the 2014 midterms, only 4.7 percent of the 14 million registered at the time voted.
The state’s biggest counties — including Dallas, saw larger first-day turnout than they did in the 2014 midterms, and in some places met or exceeded some presidential election totals.
And the lines began nearly immediately and continued throughout the day.
“It’s been like this all day,” said one poll worker at Marsh Lane Baptist Church, where the line snaked down a hall, into a reception area, around the walls of that room, and back up the hallway again. “But it’s gotten worse as the day has gone on.”
Despite plenty of poll workers, it was taking about 45 minutes to vote there, and readers reported similar waits in other areas of town as well. One woman in line at Marsh Lane said her daughter waited an hour to vote in Arlington.
“Our Redeemer Lutheran on Park Lane had a huge line out the door, down the steps, and trailing to the north parking lot at noon,” reported Shari North. “Huge turnout.”
Shelley Broyles Stenoien said that Samuell Grand Recreation Center had about a 25-minute wait at 11 a.m. Others reported earlier that the line stretched well out the door.
CandysDirt.com Executive Editor Joanna England said her wait at Lochwood Library was about 45 minutes.
Bernadine Daniell said she voted at 10:30 a.m., at University Park United Methodist Church. “There was a 20-minute wait, but the line is getting a bit longer,” she said.
“The Rockwall Library is packed!” said Nathalie Chenault.
Others reported 40-minute waits at Fretz Park Library, but only 15 to 20 minute waits in Valley Ranch and some spots in Plano.
At the end of the day, 57,080 people lined up to vote early Monday in Dallas County. For perspective, the last midterms in 2014 only brought out 13,036 the first day. In 2010, 14,820 voted in those midterms, and the 2016 presidential election saw 58,775 voting in the first day of early voting.
In Tarrant County, early voting Monday easily bested the first day of early voting for the 2014 midterms (which clocked in with 13,466 voters), hit 40,422 by the time the polls closed for the day. That’s shy of the 43,149 voters who turned out in 2016 for the presidential race, though.
In Collin County, more than 30,000 people voted, and in Denton County, 19,045 voted (compared to 9,582 in 2014).
Early voting continues through Nov. 2. Polls open and close at varying times depending on the county.
Have you voted yet? Let us know in the comments if you have, or when you do plan to, and if you’re out voting, tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #CandysDirtVotes.
— Bud Kennedy / #ReadLocal (@BudKennedy) October 22, 2018
— Michael Li (@mcpli) October 23, 2018
For reference, Dallas County’s total turnout in 2014 was a hair over 400,000 voters, so this is around 14% of that. Not bad for a first day of early voting.
— Sir Humphrey (@bdquinn) October 23, 2018
— WFAA (@wfaa) October 23, 2018
Important not to get too ahead of ourselves on early voting turnout in Texas. Exciting to be sure, but keep working. Remembering the primary (Democrats cast more early votes, but Republicans ultimately topped Ds by 500k off Election Day votes). pic.twitter.com/70tfxpWTn7
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) October 23, 2018
I voted today and I had to wait 30 minutes in line and I’m not complaining at all. For texas, early voting and during a non presidential election, I was so amazed. Those were the best 30 minutes I ever spent in a line
— marWITCHa 🦇 (@marissadolivas) October 23, 2018