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Early Voting Wraps With Numbers Down From ’08

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DALLAS (CBSDFW/AP) - Friday was the last day for early voting, and while numbers were good, they were still slightly down across North Texas compared to 2008.

Secretary of State Hope Andrade says Texas has a record number of voters this year, with more than 13.64 million registered to cast ballots. The previous record number of Texans registered to vote was more than 13.57 million during the November 2008 general election.

According to election officials, turnout in North Texas was good, but still lower than 2008. Dallas County reported 418,000 voters had cast ballots since early voting began October 22.  Four years ago the early turnout was 477,000.

In Tarrant County, 387,000 people voted early – 10 percent below their 2008 numbers.  Denton County had 163,000, down from 174,000 in 2008.

Polling places across Dallas County experienced long lines all day, especially at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, where more than 2,400 people had voted by 3:30 pm.   Most who waited were patient.  “This is actually the fourth time I’ve tried to vote!” claimed Joey Russo, who was nonetheless pleased that when she finally committed to queue up, the wait wasn’t as long as she feared.  But one way or another, she was determined to vote.  “I feel that both locally and nationally we’re kind of at a crux for a lot of important decisions… so I think it’s a really important time for everyone to have their say.”

Interest appears heavy all over the county, including is the sub-courthouse in Oak Cliff.  For Roderick Hawkins, critical issues are health care, economic growth, and jobs.  “If you have issues, anything you want your voice to be heard on, the best thing is to vote. Because if you don’t vote you can’t complain on anything that goes on,” he said, adding “as long as you know it’s going to help you and effect you and the people around you then vote for that candidate.”

The most persistent voter Friday was Catherine Morrison.  At nearly 104 years old, she could have used a mail-in or absentee ballot.  But she wasn’t having it. “It’s always been important to make it, the United States is the most wonderful place in the world and I just have roots.”   Morrison thinks this year’s election is vital…for several reasons.  “Maybe a little more important because I don’t think I have too many more (elections) to do.”

By 7:00 p.m. Friday night, voters in Collin County were wrapped around an early polling place, and those who were in line were determined to stick it out.

Texans are allowed to cast a ballot at any polling place in their county of residence during the early-voting period.

The official election day is Tuesday, November 6.

(© Portions Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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