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Record El Paso early voting points to historic turnout in Tuesday’s election


Younger and infrequent voters drove El Paso’s record-shattering early voting turnout, an El Paso Matters analysis shows.

El Paso Matters modeling shows that by the times polls close on Tuesday, somewhere between 280,000 and 300,000 voters may have voted. That would be a 28% to 37% increase over 2016, when El Paso cast about 219,000 votes. The model is based on the number of people who cast ballots in 2016 but still haven’t done so, and early voting trends with infrequent voters.

The number of early votes in El Paso surpassed the total votes from 2016, with Election Day still to come on Tuesday.

More than 76,000 early voters — more than one of every three voters — did not participate in the 2016 general election in El Paso. That is a significantly higher number of nonvoters from the prior presidential election than in 2012 or 2016.

More than 37,000 early voters had no previous record of voting in any El Paso election. That’s also higher than in prior presidential elections. The number would have been even higher if El Paso hadn’t had a historically strong turnout in the 2018 mid-term election. More than 50,000 early voters this year had no history of voting in El Paso before 2018.

You may be familiar with one of those first-time voters.

The number of early voters under 30 also was significantly higher than in prior elections.

Still, older voters continue to vote at a higher rate than younger El Pasoans.

Women made up 55% of early voters. Historically, El Paso men have been more likely than women to wait until Election Day to vote, so that percentage may come down slightly by the time polls close on Tuesday.

Election Day polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Unlike previous years, El Pasoans are not restricted to voting at their precinct polling place; they can vote at any polling place in El Paso County. This includes six express curbside stations where people can vote without leaving their car.

If you’re voting on Tuesday, use our voters guide to plan your vote by learning more about local candidates.

Cover photo: Voters are called in to the El Paso County Eastside Annex to cast their ballots during the second week 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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