Credit: Unsplash

The number will only rise as mail-in ballot counting begins.

In 2016, approximately 8,969,226 of Texas’ 27 million population voted in the presidential election, about 59.4% of its population of registered voters at the time. Since then, at least 1.8 million new voters have registered in the Lone Star State, and they have already come in droves to vote in the 2020 election.

As of Thursday, 9,009,850 people have been confirmed to have voted in Texas at early voting places alone. While the overall number has already surpassed voting numbers of 2016, due to the addition of new voters to Texas in the intervening time, the current voter turnout only accounts for about 53% of the population. However, experts predict that once all of the mail-in ballots have been counted alongside the in-person votes, the total voting turnout will be well over 60%. A voter turnout of that magnitude hasn’t been seen in Texas since 1990.

Texas has been seeing an especially high turnout from its recently increased number of voters from urban and suburban counties. Additionally, in order to facilitate smoother early voting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered early polling places to open six days earlier than usual. Numerous Texan politicians have been advising their constituents to vote as early as possible, which tracks with Texan voting habits seen since 2008.

Credit: Unsplash

Texas has become an especially fierce battleground between the democratic and republican candidates. Pollsters haven’t been able to concretely forecast a winner, with some even going as far as to call the vote a “toss-up.” As Texas doesn’t require voters to print party affiliation on their ballot, the actual impact of this record voting turnout has been further muddled. In addition to the Presidential election, Texas democrats are hoping to take control of the 12 congressional seats on the ballot.