Politics

Texas Becomes First State To Surpass 2016 Voter Turnout With 9 Million Ballots Cast

(Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Early voters in Texas have now cast more votes in 2020 than the entire 2016 Presidential election, according to reports. 

8,969,226 Texans voted in 2016 and just over 9 million have now voted early in 2020, according to the AP. Texas is the first state in 2020 to already pass the mark they set in 2016. (RELATED: Four Days Out — Here’s Where The Election Stands)

Early voting was extended by one week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a victory for Democrats who pushed for the extension in court, the AP reports. Still, Texas does not offer vote-by-mail options as extensive as many other states, meaning many of these early votes were cast in-person. 

There is no party-affiliated registration in Texas, so it is harder to glean insight into what this high turnout may mean regarding the potential winner of the election on Tuesday. Democrats have long cited shifting demographics as a reason Texas could eventually turn blue, but President Trump still won the state by over 9 points in 2016, and heavily-backed 2018 Senate challenger Beto O’Rourke lost to Ted Cruz by 2.5 points. 

This year, things seem a bit more precarious for the GOP. Election forecaster FiveThirtyEight currently projects Trump to win the state by barely 2%, and the nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved Texas into its “tossup” category earlier this week. Incumbent Republican Senator John Cornyn appears to be faring better, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average, which currently shows him with a lead of 7.5%.