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An election administrator is anxious about early voting. Political experts predict early election day voter turnout.

With there being eight days to vote, what does this mean for early voting?
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2020, file photo, people wait in line at an early voting location at the culinary workers union hall in Las Vegas. Nevada's Republican Party voted to censure the secretary of state, accusing her of failing to fully investigate allegations of fraud in the 2020 election. Barbara Cegavske says there was no fraud and that her own party is attacking her for refusing to "put my thumb on the scale of democracy." Cegavske, the only Republican statewide office holder in Nevada, said members of her party are disappointed with the election results and believe fraud occurred "despite a complete lack of evidence to support that belief." (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

SAN ANGELO, Texas — In elections in years past, the Tom Green County Elections Office said a steady amount of people showed up to vote for early voting.

Elections administrator Vona Hudson she's expecting close to that number this year, with more than 68,230 registered voters in Tom Green County.

"I don't think we're going to have a large turnout. In fact, it's been fairly slow today. I haven't checked with how many we've had, but we do not see lines or anything. Everyone is pretty much able to walk in and go ahead and vote. So, it stays as it is; it's going to be a smaller turn out than we normally have," Hudson said.

Election administrator Freda Ragan in Taylor County said its elections office reported 64,289 registered voters in the City of Abilene.

Hudson said the two-year-old voting machines take a minute or two to cast votes and does not expect any problems for the 18 different polling locations.

"With this ballot, you're getting the most you'll have on your ballot is three contestants. So, it's not going to take folks very long to vote at all," Hudson said. 

Election Day is typically a day voters anticipate when it comes to waiting in line. However, on the first day of early voting, Hudson said it had been a smooth process.

"I don't know we have had two to three people waiting at a time. So, there's not really a line," Hudson said.

Angelo State University's political science and philosophy associate professor and department chair Dr. Matthew Gritter said he expects the turnout to be similar to 2017.

"Turn out in local elections tends to be much less than in presidential elections or like for elections for governors or local senator. For example, in Tom Green County, the turnout for the presidential election in 2020 was about 65% of registered voters. Four years ago, when there were many contestants in local elections, it was about 13%. So the turnout does tend to be much lower during local elections. So that's something that generally occurs across the board," Gritter said.

Hudson said she also expects the turnout to be similar to 50% of the total amount of voters they have. However, she said with there being eight days of voting. This number may change.

"The last few have actually had more on election day, so I'm really anxious to see what happens on this one," Hudson said.

Gritter said the trend in previous elections varies.

"People tend to participate in a variety of different ways regarding elections. I mean, I think in Texas, we have seen a rise in early voting," Gritter said.

He says a historic absentee ballot coupled with early voting numbers could possibly change the voter turnout.

"I think early voting does help to provide opportunities to get people to come to the polls," Gritter said.

Again, there will be 18 polling locations in Tom Green County, a few less than in previous years.

Early voting ends next Tuesday, April 27. Elections take place Saturday, May 1.

"The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is tomorrow (Tuesday, April 20). So, it is too late if they haven't already applied other than for them to fax it or email it to us to kind of hold the date, and then we have to have the original within four business days to be able to mail a ballot for them for this one," Hudson said. 

The only time a voter can turn in an absentee ballot and have it counted at the Tom Green County elections office is May 1.

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