Fort Bend County voters are coming out in record numbers to vote early in the Nov. 3 elections, county officials reported.
Despite a manmade error that slowed down voting on the first day of early voting Tuesday, turnout in the county has increased since Wednesday.
The first day of early voting saw 12,843 ballots cast.
The second day of early voting saw 20,384 voters head to the polls, which is 2,000 more that voted on the second day of early voting in 2018, which was 18,464 and 18,265 in 2016.
On Thursday, the third day of early voting, 22,772 cast ballots in person, which is almost 4,000 more that voted on the third day of early voting in 2016 (17,713).
Right at 55,999 voters have cast ballots in person over the three-day period.
“We are seeing enormous enthusiasm to participate in this election, and Fort Bend has been no exception,” Fort Bend County Judge KP George said in a statement.
“I have personally been visiting polling sites in order to resolve issues on the ground, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of extended hours at polling sites to make their voices heard.”
Fort Bend County Elections Administrator John Oldham predicts that this election will shatter previous turnout records.
“This should be a record turnout, especially since we have more registered voters with every election,” Oldham said. “My thoughts are, that come Monday morning, which would have been the normal start date of early voting, that we will have had between 90-95,000 voters cast ballots.
As of Tuesday, 481,813 Fort Bend County residents had been registered to vote in the Nov. 3 general election. However, that number is expected to grow as more people register before the Oct. 24 deadline.
As for mail-in ballots, Fort Bend County reported that 37,179 ballots were requested and 9,160 of them have been returned since Friday morning.
The combination of mail-in votes and in-person votes reveals some 65,159 voters have cast ballots in the first three days of early voting.
In response to the error that slowed voting on Tuesday, George extended early voting hours to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct 17.
On the last three days of early voting from Wednesday, Oct. 28 to Friday, Oct. 30, voting hours will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Curbside voting for those who need it is available at all polling locations. Voters who need this service need to call 281-342-8670 only when they arrive at a polling station, not before.
The county also has a tool to check which polling location has long lines. Voters can go to https://www.fortbendcountytx.gov/government/departments-e-n/elections-voter-registration/presidential-election-early-voting-schedule to check which locations have a line or not.
All voting locations will have personal protective equipment, such as hand sanitizer, masks, voting styluses, etc.