Early voting began Tuesday in Texas and already 21% of Williamson County’s registered voters have cast a ballot.
The county has received double the number of mail-in ballots it received at this point in the 2016 presidential election, and in-person voter turnout continues to surpass that of past years.
By the end of the first three days of early voting in 2016, the county had received 6,679 mail-in ballots and 50,753 in-person ballots. In the same timespan this year, 13,529 mail-in ballots and 65,998 in-person ballots have been counted.
On the first day alone, the county received a record number of 33,412 ballots, including in-person, mail-in, limited and provisional ballots.
Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis said the eagerness of voters aligns with the message his office continues to reiterate: "Vote early."
"It has to be this pent-up enthusiasm for folks who are wanting to vote and the wisdom of wanting to get it done early and not procrastinate," Davis said.
Davis said he anticipates about 66% of voters to vote early this election. But the county has also seen an unprecedented number of requests for ballots by mail, with more than 30,000 applications so far.
He expects more requests still since the deadline to apply for a ballot-by-mail is next Friday.
Voters opting for mail-in ballots have also taken advantage of a new website the county elections office launched. The site allows residents to check the status of their application — whether it’s been sent, received and counted.
“It’s been huge,” Davis said. “There’ve been 80,000 to 90,000 unique clicks to that website, so folks are checking that regularly.”
The first days of early voting were not without some problems. The Georgetown Randalls polling place lost power on the first day, and the county’s wait-time map was down for a period.
Some polling locations have longer wait times given the size of the space and the number of voting machines that can safely fit inside, Davis said. The county is tracking the busiest polling locations on its website, with the Williamson County Jester Annex leading in the area.
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