HOUSTON As early voting totals continue to grow in Harris and surrounding counties, local issues in suburban communities are drawing a growing number of voters to the polls.

Brazoria County officials, for example, expect a substantial increase in the number of early votes.

I feel like we re probably going to at least double what we had...four years ago, said Brazoria County Elections Director Janice Evans.

County officials say the big draw is this year s highly-contested governor s race, but local issues are drawing a growing number of voters as well.

The race to fill the seat once held by Brazoria County Judge James Blackstock is one drawing increased interest. Blackstock resigned last year amid sexual harassment allegations.

In Fort Bend County, the nearly half-million dollar Katy ISD bond referendum has caught the attention of voters.

The Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Board of Trustees election has generated buzz in Harris County because of its connection to the Tea Party.

Two [of the three candidates] are Tea Party advocates, said 11 News political expert Bob Stein. They re battling with superintendents and teachers.

Off-year elections historically have had a lower turnout but, according to political observers, this year is expected to be different.

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