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Senior citizens cast more than half of early votes in mayoral runoff

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El Paso’s next mayor will be chosen in large part by the city’s oldest voters, an El Paso Matters analysis of early voting turnout in Saturday’s runoff election shows.

Almost 56% of those who cast early ballots in the city of El Paso were age 65 or older. People over 65 represent about 20% of all registered voters in the city.

About 5,200 people over age 80 cast ballots in early voting in the city, three times larger than the 1,703 early voters under age 30.

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The early voting turnout in the runoff for mayor, two City Council seats and three municipal judgeships is much smaller and much older than in the Nov. 3 general election. The mayoral runoff features incumbent Dee Margo, 68, and former Mayor Oscar Leeser, 62. 

The turnout by the time early voting ended Tuesday was 38,864 in the city limits of El Paso and 814 in Socorro, which also is having runoff elections. Early voting turnout for the Nov. 3 election, which included the presidential race, was 225,146.

In the Nov. 3 early voting for city of El Paso races, 16% percent of voters were under age 30; in the runoff, only 4% of those casting early votes were under 30.

Women cast 55% of early votes in the El Paso municipal races, similar to the Nov. 3 race.

The early voting turnout of almost 39,000 for the municipal race has already exceeded the entire turnout for El Paso’s last mayoral runoff. In that 2017 runoff, 31,265 people voted in early voting and Election Day combined.

Election Day for the 2020 runoff is Saturday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Registered voters can cast ballots at any of the more than 100 vote centers across the county.

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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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