Originally Posted: January 18, 2016
When the March 1 presidential primary elections finally arrive in Texas, hundreds of thousands of voters — maybe even half of the Texans who plan to turn out — may have already cast their ballots.
During the past three presidential elections alone, more than 2 million voters headed to the polls early in Texas, state records show.
“This is definitely the trend here,” said Frank Phillips, Tarrant County’s elections administrator. “Mid to high 60 percent of people who vote in Tarrant County vote before election day.
Texas is one of 37 states, along with the District of Columbia, that lets voters cast ballots early, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Nearly 30 years ago, state lawmakers changed the early voting system that required Texans to provide a “valid excuse” to vote early.
They loosened up the rules to let voters cast early ballots just because they wanted to vote before election day.
“Some people enjoy and celebrate the act of voting,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Other people … vote early. READ MORE