DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Early voting is well underway and already turnout at some North Texas locations is strong.

More than 70,000 voters cast ballots today in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton Counties. With the state embroiled in voter identification wrangling, the secretary of state has come to North Texas to help make sure that ay confusion over voting requirements doesn’t keep registered voters at home.

On the first day of early voting, casting a ballot was both swift and sweet for Irene Jokonya. “It was really,” she said. “It only took five minutes!”

That takes care of the ‘swift.’ The ‘sweet’ was because Jokonya, a native of Zimbabwe, was casting a ballot as an American citizen for the very first time.

“I was so excited, and I didn’t want to wait ’til Election Day, because it’s my first time to vote and I wanted to do it first, and early,” Jokonya said delighted.

Jokonya joined the several thousand North Texans who wasted no time taking advantage of early voting options.

Secretary of State Esperanza “Hope” Andrade spent part of the day in Dallas, urging voters to make their voices heard. She said 13.6 million Texans have registered to vote in the November election – up slightly from 2008 – and the most in the state’s history.

Saying that voting is “one of the most important privileges” Andrade is also spending time telling voters to disregard the months long controversies concerning new voter ID requirements. “The simple message that we’re taking throughout the state is this: no photo id required,” she stated firmly.

So even if you can’t match Jokonya’s enthusiasm… her sense of responsibility as a citizen should certainly resonate. The new U.S. citizen said assuredly, “Every vote counts, and every opinion is valued.”

Secretary of State Andrade will join Senator Royce West for a voting town hall meeting tonight to address any general election concerns. The meeting is being held on the Eastfield College campus in Pleasant Grove, at 802 S. Buckner Boulevard, Dallas, 75217.

The town hall meeting runs from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the Community Room. For more information, please call (214) 467-0123.