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El Paso shatters record for first day of early voting

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El Paso County shattered records on Tuesday for the first day of early voting, according to preliminary numbers from the El Paso County Elections Office.

Almost 19,000 people voted in person in the county on Tuesday, Elections Administrator Lisa Wise said. Another 15,000 mail ballots were received by Tuesday, bringing the first day total to more than 34,000.

The in-person turnout was the highest ever for the first day of early voting in El Paso and came despite the county experiencing its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began. The mail-voting total was more than twice the record set in 2018.

The total first-day turnout was 75% higher than the last presidential election in 2016. It was 45% higher than in 2018, when El Pasoan Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign against Republican Ted Cruz drove what was then the highest turnout for a first day of early voting.

El Paso is historically an overwhelmingly Democratic county. In 2016, Donald Trump received 25.7% of the county’s vote, the worst performance ever in the county by a major party nominee.

No Democrat has carried Texas since Jimmy Carter in 1976, though Democrats think they have a chance this year. Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, kicked off a three-city tour of the state in El Paso Tuesday morning. It was the first time that a major party presidential candidate or candidate’s spouse has campaigned in El Paso during a general election since Bill Clinton stopped briefly here in 1996.

El Paso Matters will provide ongoing analysis, starting Wednesday of early voting turnout.

If you haven’t yet voted, use our voters guide to learn more about local races.

Cover photo: Jill Biden, wife of presidential candidate Joe Biden, urges supporters to get to the polls at a small rally on UTEP’s campus Tuesday on the first day of early voting. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

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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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