NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The number of people voting in the four largest counties in North Texas has plummeted from four years ago.
Some political analysts and campaigns predicted a record turnout for the midterm election this year, butand it hasn't bounced back as some party leaders thought it would.
During the last midterm election in 2018, there were 1,226,924 who cast their ballots during the first ten days in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton counties.
But this year, only 972,452 residents in those same four counties cast their ballots during the first ten days of early voting, a drop by 254,472.
Here's a breakdown of each county comparing the first ten of 12 early voting days of 2018 and 2022:
At Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Dallas, one of the busiest polling locations in Dallas County, there was no line Thursday afternoon.
In downtown Dallas, we asked residents if they've voted yet.
"No, no, I'll vote Tuesday. It's just something I've always done, voted on election day," George Robinson said. "I'm going to give it until election day because I'm trying to squeeze that opportunity to get the right person in office because it's a crucial decision to make."
At Dallas County Democratic Party headquarters Thursday afternoon, the candidate for Lt. Governor, Mike Collier thanked volunteers and told them, "I expect to win this thing, then we'll come back and celebrate."
When asked about the early voting numbers, Collier said, "I wish we had more people coming to the polls. I'm not ready to conclude one way or another about what it means and we still have election day. There's plenty of reason to believe the folks who want change are the ones coming out, that's what I expect."
But Dallas County's Republican Party Chair Jennifer Stoddard Hajdu said she's encouraged. "I think the decrease in early voting does help the Republicans mostly because more Republicans vote on election day than Democrats."
She predicts Republicans will make gains in the county. "I think we're going to pick up some seats that a lot of people will be surprised that we will pick up."
Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Kristy Noble acknowledged Democrats rely on a big turnout in Dallas. "The Democratic percent of that vote has to be higher in Dallas, in Harris, in Travis than obviously the rest of the state and so that's what we're focusing on right now."
While early voting numbers are down, Noble said Democrats are still positive. "The fight is still there. We still have the opportunity for the Democratic side keep our majority in Dallas County, even extend that majority."
To get out the vote, both party chairs said their volunteers and candidates will be out knocking on doors and phone-banking starting this weekend through election day.
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