DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Day two of early voting for municipal elections is in the books in North Texas, and results shouldn’t surprise anyone based on history.
In Dallas County, 15,923 people have cast ballots, which is about 1.23 percent of the nearly 1.3 million registered voters in the county.
In Tarrant County, where residents are electing mayors in Fort Worth and Arlington, 9,007 voters have already cast ballots, which is .81 percent of the more than 1.1 million people registered to vote.
While turnout remains low this year, it’s still higher for municipal elections in Dallas County than in years past.
For example, there were 6,964 people who cast ballots in person on the first day of early voting this year.
That’s more than double the number of people than In 2015, the last year there was a Dallas mayoral election when 3,270 voted during the first day.
In 2011, when there was an open seat for Dallas mayor, 2,570 people cast their ballots on the first day of early voting.
So far, not even a Dallas mayor’s race featuring nine candidates on the ballot is attracting big numbers to the polls.
Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert faced a similarly crowded field of candidates and low turnout when he ran in 2007.
“At this point, it’s very difficult to find oxygen in the room,” he said.
When asked what he did to find oxygen in the room when he ran, Leppert said, “We were fortunate we were in the position to do some television and we did some radio and then we also put mailers out.”
Leppert said he also spent a lot of time meeting and speaking with as many people all over the city.
Three of the nine candidates have run television ads: Developer Mike Ablon, Philanthropist Lynn McBee and Dallas ISD Trustee Miguel Solis.
But Leppert says it’s more than just running ads, and talking to as many people you can in every part of the city. “I think you have to have some kind of message that stands out. You’ve got to have some type of message people can understand that say what do you want to do with the city.”
Current Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015, is urging residents to go to the polls.
“The main thing is we need to get more voter turnout in this city,” he said.
To boost voter turnout, Rawlings wants to do what the cities of Houston and Austin have done: move the non-partisan municipal elections to November, when more people are used to going to the polls.
Rawlings said, “We want to make it easy on folks to vote, not more difficult. We know that when you move it to November, turnout is a lot better and people are more engaged.”
He said he has worked with Democratic State Senator Nathan Johnson of Dallas on a bill to move municipal elections to November.
Records show the legislation has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.
If you live in Dallas and haven’t voted yet, you can watch our interviews of all nine mayoral candidates here.