HOUSTON — On Nov. 5, attorney Tony Buzbee forced incumbent mayor Sylvester Turner into a runoff election.

While there wasn’t a clear winner in that race, researchers have found there was a winner when it came to voting.

“We saw more people voting on election day than early. Normally we’ve seen more – maybe 60-65 percent of voters – vote early,” said Bob Stein, KHOU 11 political analyst and professor at Rice University.

Stein said the reason is the “Vote Your Way” campaign, which allowed people to vote at any voting center rather than limiting them to their precinct.

He said voters took Harris County up on the offer.

“In addition, we saw another 26,000 voters who normally would have had to vote in their local neighborhood precinct -- they could vote anywhere in the county -- they went to locations outside of their neighborhoods,” Stein said.

In some cases, that led to long lines at popular locations, but Stein said voters still gave overwhelmingly positive reviews about the new approach.

He said researchers talked to 600 voters at 75 different locations.

“What we found is people didn’t mind waiting in line. When you asked them, was the line too long? Did you wait too long? Did it take too long to check in? They said no,” he said.

Voter turnout is expected to be very low for the runoff election on Saturday, Dec. 14. Once again, those who show up can vote anywhere they want. They’ll decide which mayor they want leading Houston once and for all.


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