Mirella Escamilla Davis, election clerk, said that as of Tuesday morning, 2,488 people have come in to vote early.
This is only about 1,200 votes away from topping the past presidential election total early vote count.
“It seems a like a lot of people are coming. Monday and Tuesday was a steady line of voters,” Davis said. With several days of early voting left, the total could surpass the last presidential election which drew immense publicity because it was the first time a black man was heading the ballot for either of the two main parties.
“We could top it,” Davis simply said.
Monday, the first day of early voting, of last week was the heaviest day for voters with 457 ballots cast; the rest of the week followed suit with about 400 voters per day.
“There are a lot of young, first-time voters coming in,” Davis said.
She speculated that part of the reason for the high turnout is simply a couple of the races on the ballot — for sheriff and county attorney.
But, of course, the presidential election is surely drawing in the voters.
Statewide, some other counties are seeing higher numbers of ballots casts this year.
In Harris County, for example, 310,000 people cast their ballot during the first five days of voting.
This breaks the record set during the 2008 presidential election that put Barack Obama into office.
In contrast to Harris, Travis County is actually low in its voter county.
Within the first seven days, vote totals had only reached a third of the 2008 election totals.
As of Monday, only about 108,000 voters this year have cast their ballots — well below the last presidential election year’s total of 302,000 ballots.
But there is still time. Early voting doesn’t end until Friday.
Polls at the courthouse are open from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.
Each of the 17 precinct polling locations will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for Election Day voting.
Early voting has taken its toll on the county clerk’s office. Davis is left with only a skeleton crew in her office.
Four part-timers, seven clerks and one Experience Works employee are helping make sure things run smoothly at the poll.
“It is keeping us on our toes here,” she said as she scanned her department which at that moment had only one employee left in it.
“Fortunately, the landmen have not been in requesting tons of copies,” she said. “The election is running smoothly. We haven’t had any technical issues.”
Election Day could be just as busy for many of the precincts also.
“A lot of people believe in casting their ballots on Election Day,” Davis said. “That is tradition.”
This year has been anything but normal, Davis said.
“This has been an election year,” she said.
For months, she and the other clerks were in the dark when even the primaries would be held.
First they thought April. Then it became May. This meant also constantly being in a state of readiness.
And the months June and July — when most of the staff would take vacation — was spent preparing for the July runoff election.
Notable local races
José Aliseda, on the Republican ticket, is running uncontested.
Martha Warner, who current serves as district attorney, is not running.
Incumbent Mike Knight, a Democrat, will face Juan Eduardo Garcia from the Republican party.
Incumbent Carlos Carrizales Jr., a Democrat, will face Bill Lazenby, a Republican.
Incumbent Eloy Rodriguez, a Democrat, will face Dennis D. Phipps, a Republican.
National & state
Incumbent President Barack Obama, Democrat, will face Republican Mitt Romney. Also running are Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green Party.
State Representative, District 43
Incumbent Rep. J.M. Lozano, a Republican, will face Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, former state representative, a Democrat.
Longtime incumbent Sen. Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat, will face Grant Rostig, a Republican, along with Joseph Morse, a Libertarian.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.