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Election Politics

Ahead of Sanders visit, young El Paso turnout remains weak

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Early voting in the March 3 Texas primary elections is underway and continues through Feb. 28. El Paso Matters is tracking the demographic profile of voters and will update the turnout details as data becomes available each day. If you have a question about turnout demographics, email bmoore@elpasomatters.org. Here’s how things look after four days of early voting.

Age

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has built a base of support among younger voters, will campaign in El Paso Saturday. So far, those younger El Paso voters have been sitting on the sideline during the first four days of early voting in the March 3 primary.

Just over 1,200 voters under 30 have cast ballots so far, 1.1 percent of registered voters in that age group. By contrast, more than 1,600 voters over the age of 80 have cast ballots, 7.1 percent of registered voters in that group.

Voters are getting slightly younger with each passing day of early voting. After Friday’s fourth day of early voting, the number of voters under age 65 surpassed the number over that age for the first time during balloting, though just barely. Under-65 voters make up 50.2 percent of El Paso voters so far.

The younger voters who have turned out so far are voting Democratic by a wide margin. Among voters under 30, 85 percent have cast Democratic ballots, compared to 75 percent of voters over age 30.

Total turnout

Both Republican and Democratic turnout is twice as large as the same point in the 2016 primaries.

Sex

For the first time since early voting began on Tuesday, the number of women voters has surpassed men. Based on history, that gap will continue to grow, with women making up 52-54 percent of the final electorate.

Women account for 52 percent of Democratic votes so far, and 45.6 percent of Republican votes.

Voting history

El Paso early voters, at least so far, primarily are people who have voted in prior general elections. But many of them didn’t vote in the 2016 primaries.

Partisan history

Most Democratic voters so far also voted in that party’s 2016 primary. But 86 percent of Republican voters did not vote in the GOP primary four years ago. In fact, more GOP primary voters this year voted in the 2016 Democratic primary than in the Republican primary that year.

Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on border issues by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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