Day one of early voting sets records and draws complaints

More than 67,000 people early voted in Harris County on Monday.

HOUSTON - More than 67,000 people cast their ballot on the first day of early voting in Harris County, but when you have that many voters there are bound to be complaints.

“I don’t know what’s going on here but we have a lot of election days left,” said Mynor Rodriguez outside a northwest
Houston polling precinct where he claimed election workers were misleading voters by telling them they needed a photo ID to vote.

“I confronted them and they pushed back at me.  They started raising their voice.”

There were similar complaints about misinformation and intimidation at other polling precincts.  A voter at the Acres Homes Multi-Purpose Center sent in pictures showing long lines and just a hand full of election workers on the job.

There were long lines at the Bayland Park Community Center as well.  The county clerk blamed the extended wait times on processing delays.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in who have to do a statement of residence,” said Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart.

“They’ve moved.  And that’s what happens when you have a lot of new voters.  So it kind of jogs up the lines a little bit.”

He also expressed confidence that election workers were not deliberately misleading voters about voter IDs.   
It was a day of record turnout without about 6 thousand people voting each hour.  And it wasn’t all long lines.

We didn’t see any at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center.  And some voters said they didn’t have any trouble casting their ballots.

“Everything ran very smoothly,” said Samantha Solis-Klein. “They seemed to have everything under control.”

But some people remain concerned.

“All I want is that everybody who wants to vote can vote,” said Rodriquez.

The best way to avoid long lines is to check out the turnout figures from day one of early voting.  The lower the figure, the less likely it is to encounter long lines.

You can find the turnout figures at Harrisvotes.org

According to a new CBS News tracking poll, here in Texas 59 percent of likely voters say they plan to cast their ballots early. 

"Hillary Clinton is not going to the win the state, but the chances of her doing so are not remote, and they were remote three weeks ago," said Bob Stein, KHOU 11 political analyst.

VOTER GUIDE: Everything you need to know, tap here

Texans will have 12 days to cast their ballots at one of a record 46 early voting locations in Harris County. A record-breaking 15 million people are registered to vote in Texas, so Stein recommends not waiting until last minute.

"I suspect lines are going to be long," Stein said. "My advice to voters is to vote early, that way you can always come back if you don't have the right ID." 

Early voting numbers from other battleground states show Democrats with an early edge. Stein expects to see that trend continue here in Texas.

"Republicans don't have a really extensive ground game," Stein said. "Some of the candidates do like Mr. Hickman and Michael Sullivan, but I don't see any evidence that there's a real mobilization on the Republican's part."
 
Trump's unpopularity coupled with a rise in Hispanic voters could bode problematic for down ballot races in Harris County. Republican District Attorney Devon Anderson is down to Kim Ogg in recent polling, she's hoping she can mount a comeback despite the Trump effect at the top of the ticket. 
 
"I expect Democrats to have a really good day," Stein said.

(© 2016 KHOU)


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