DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – William Edwards said he’s always voted on Election Day and never had to wait in line as he did Wednesday afternoon at the Fretz Park Branch Library in Dallas.
But this year, he said it’s different. “I wasn’t planning on coming to vote early, but looking at all the activities yesterday made me think I need to go ahead and get it done, take care of it right away.”
We saw a long line for part of the afternoon here.
Records show there were 257,493 people who voted in person and by mail on the first day of early voting in the four largest counties in North Texas this year over 2016, which is a record.
That’s an increase of 53,323 ballots from four years ago.
For in-person voting, Dallas County had 59,905 in person voters on the first day of early voting, an increase from 2016 when there were 58,775 in-person voters.
Collin County had 39,372 in-person voters on the first day of voting this year, which is more than the 31,283 on the first day of early voting in 2016.
Denton County reported a big jump on the first day of early voting Tuesday with 35,943 who cast ballots in person compared to 16,963 four years ago.
Only Tarrant County reported a slight decrease from the first day of early voting in 2016: 42,351 in person ballots cast, down from 43,149.
Voting by mail saw increases as well.
Dallas County counted 33,048 ballots by mail Tuesday compared to 21,526 on the first day of early voting in 2016.
Tarrant County saw its vote by mail increase on the first day of early voting from 22,007 in 2016 to 32,108 this year.
Denton County reported a big increase in vote by mail on the first day of early voting this year: 13,956 ballots compared to 5,031 four years ago.
Only Collin County reported a slight decrease in mail-in ballots on the first day of early voting this year: 5,326, which is down from 5,436 four years ago.
The larger first day turnout led other voters to change their schedules, too, including David McQueary of Arlington. “When I came out here yesterday, it was pretty packed, so I turned around and went back home. Back again today to try it again.”
Dlanesia Chandler also of Arlington said she and several relatives decided to go vote on the same day. “Yes, that’s what made me want to get out and get it done early, just to make sure my voice is heard and my vote counts. There’s no reason to wait.”
State records show early voting in North Texas has increased steadily since 2008, both as a percentage and in raw numbers.
With early voting expanded this year by one week, you can expect new records to be set.