Drop in Early Voting Favors Republicans, Analysts Say

Early voting in Tarrant County has plummeted 66% compared to two years ago, reflecting a drop across the state.

At the Handley Meadowbrook Community Center in Fort Worth, voters are showing up.

But there are no lines and no wait.

“Nothing like that. Easy to get in,” said realtor Adrainne Prince.

Part of the trend could be blamed on early voting starting later in many places than two years ago.

“I think it reflects the fact that the last two electoral cycles have been really high intensity,” SMU political science professor Matthew Wilson said. “In 2020 we had a hotly contested presidential race. In 2018 you had the Beto-mania phenomena.”

The drop in voting suggests a big challenge for Democrats, Wilson said.

“Because I think the Democratic candidates’ only plausible victory story is one where they get this huge surge in turnout from young voters, from minority voters, etcetera.”

Wilson also said the latest polls show the issues of most concern to voters may also favor Republicans.

A University of Texas-Tyler poll shows 56% of Texans believe the state is headed in the “wrong direction.”

But asked about the most important policy facing Texas, 24% said securing the border and 21% said the economy.

Only 10% said reproductive rights were the top issue and 10% said gun control.

The poll of registered Texas voters was taken Oct.17-24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9%.

With interest in the election still high, we could see a surge in the final few days of early voting — and on Election Day, Nov. 8.

“Vote for who you want to vote for,” George Elkins said outside the Fort Worth community center. “I don’t care if it’s Democrat or Republican.”

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