The names of the people who vote early in Texas are public record. Each day the Harris County clerk's office provides the list of voters to at least 15 people who have requested them. Each person must pay $60 total to get the list from the 12 days of early voting.
Here's what they do with the lists: If you voted, they cross your name off the roster of voters they want to contact before Election Day, Nov. 4. Doing so saves the campaigns precious resources.
They also use other databases to see you if you have a history of voting in the primaries. This way they can take an educated guess about how the voting is going so far.
Here's what they know: About two-thirds of the record-smashing, high-volume early vote in Harris County supposedly has been cast by people with a Democratic voting history.
According to the County Clerk, for the first time in recent memory, it appears the number of people voting inside the Loop is on par with the number of people voting outside of it.
Anyone in the county can vote at any one of the 36 early voting locations. But analysts said that because more people are voting near the core of the city, it suggests a shift -- not just in voting patterns, but potentially on which candidates and which party will come out on top.
"The polling I've seen, both in terms of exit and Election Day, would suggest that the turnout within the city will be historically high. The Democrats will probably be favored in terms of straight-ticket voting. It's difficult to make much of three days, but the trends would suggest that this favors the Democrats," said Bob Stein, 11 News Political Analyst.
But hey, there's only been three days of early voting. Too early to suggest anything like a blowout or a landslide.
Seriously though, I used to work with the son of Texas racing legend AJ Foyt, and I took note of one of the interesting things he said as we watched that race in 2001 where Dale Earnhardt was killed by a p.i.t. maneuver:
"It's the Daytona 500. You don't take your foot off the gas."
Yeah. Let's don't.
Update: From Harvey Kronberg ...
A reliable Republican source tells QR that a computer analysis of early voting in Harris County indicates that Democrats have had a very good first two days of early voting.
By matching up early voters with their primary histories, our source tells us that Democrats outvoted Republicans 2.6 to 1 on the first day of early voting and 2.4 to 1 on day 2.