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1 in 8 first-day early voters in El Paso registered after November 2016


El Paso County’s record-shattering first-day turnout included more than 4,200 people who registered to vote after the last presidential election, according to an El Paso Matters analysis of county voting records.

El Pasoans who registered after November 2016 accounted for about one in every eight voters who went to the polls on Tuesday’s first day of early voting. This is a trend worth watching because a high number of newly registered voters casting ballots points to an increased turnout for the election.

Although no one knows how those voters cast their ballots, data suggests they lean heavily Democrat. About a third of those voters who registered since the last presidential election cast ballots in the March primaries in El Paso. Democratic primary voters outnumbered Republicans in that group by 6:1.

El Paso Matters will be tracking demographic information on voters throughout the Nov. 3 election season. Here’s a look at the people who cast ballots on the opening day of early voting.

Voters by age

Not surprisingly, voters over 65 cast more than half of all El Paso ballots so far. That’s because older voters have the option of voting by mail, which is available to voters under 65 only under strict conditions. People with mail ballots have been able to submit them since late September.

The proportion of younger voters will grow as early voting progresses. But it will be interesting to see what those trends look like. In 2016 and 2018, people over 65 accounted for one in every four votes cast, while people under 30 were about one of every six voters.

Voters by gender

More than 55% of first-day voters were women, which is fairly typical for El Paso. This is related somewhat to the age breakdown of voters. Women make up a higher proportion of the over-65 population that has unrestricted access to mail ballots.

Women comprise about 52% of registered voters in El Paso. Historically, they have slightly higher turnout rates than men in El Paso.

Cover photo: A line of vehicles snakes through the parking lot outside of Bassett Place for drive-through voting on Tuesday’s first day of early voting. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

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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