Thursday, October 30, 2008

Surging toward seven hundred thousand

Maybe seven-fifty:

The number of voters casting early ballots surged again on Wednesday, bringing the total to more than half a million votes with two days left of early voting.

In 12 hours of voting at 36 Harris County locations on Wednesday, more than 70,000 people cast ballots — the highest daily total since the polls opened Oct. 20.

County voters have already set a record by surpassing the total number of early votes cast in 2004: 411,830.

By the numbers:

• 513,888: the number of people to vote in person at early voting stations so far.
• 49,558: the number of people who have returned mail ballots so far.
• 70,621: the number of people who voted at the polls on Wednesday.
• 66,506: the number of people who voted at the polls on Tuesday.

EVPA (early voting in person), as you can see, has sailed past Clerk Kaufman's initial projection of half-a-mil, so it's easy to predict a final tally of between 700-750,000 votes. The EV boxes that are located in the far-flung suburbs showed the strongest increases in turnout yesterday, while the Inner Loop polls sagged a little. Kuffner has the link to the spreadsheet by polling location and his usual top-notch analysis.

Is this going well enough to satisfy Chairman Birnberg? I'm guessing he's still a little twitchy.

I think a projection without mailed ballots is insufficient, so my prediction is that the 750,000 number gets reached with those, and I also believe that 500K is the low-end of the number of Houstonians who will vote next Tuesday. One point two million total was earlier projected by Harris County election officials, but that was also when they guessed 500,000 would vote early. So if we still are capable of reaching 700,000 on Election Day, that would be a total of 1.45 million Harris County voters.

I'll go 1.5. And I'm hoping that's too big a number for anybody to successfully steal the result.

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