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Early Voting Down Statewide In Texas

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AUSTIN (AP) — More than 150,000 fewer Texans voted early this year than in 2008, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, and that might signal a lower turnout overall.

The percentage of registered voters casting their ballots early dropped from 42 percent in 2008 to 39.3 percent in 2012. But that is still a big percentage compared to 2004, when 29.6 percent voted early.

In swing states where it’s unclear whether President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney will dominate, early voters have set records.

Polls indicate Romney and Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz will easily carry the state. That could depress turnout among Republicans and Democrats who believe their votes will make little difference to the outcome of the top races.

However there are some tight congressional and local races that have attracted early interest. More than 40 percent of registered voters have cast ballots in Tarrant, Bexar, Denton, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Williamson and Galveston counties. Collin County had the highest turnout of populous areas with 48.3 percent voting early.

Some 3.4 million Texans cast their ballots between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2 out of a total 8.6 million registered voters. During the primary races, about 50 percent voted early, pointing to a statewide turnout of about 7 million. In 2008, a record total of more than 8 million people voted.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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