Primary Update: GOP Winning Turnout Race

First four days show weak voter interest

By Richard Whittaker, 1:38PM, Fri. May. 18, 2012

It doesn't matter how you vote, just vote!
It doesn't matter how you vote, just vote!

Early voting in the Republican and Democratic party May 29 primaries began on Monday, but so far voter apathy has won the day as turnout barely crawls into single digits.

Not that they should be getting too cocky. So far turnout in neither primary has broken 1% of registered voters. Admittedly, there has been a huge amount of confusion about there being a primary election straight after the mayoral election (GOP House District 47 candidate Ryan Downton told me that he had several people tell him that they had already voted for him last weekend, so why did they have to vote again?)

The total turnout across these first four days is looking less than stellar. Early voting will continue through Friday, May 25 and there's a really useful map of all the early voting locations here. As you can see from the numbers below, your vote can really make a difference. With the numbers so low, expected some serious GOTV efforts from campaigns fearful of an upset from the fringes: That said, post-redistricting and with a cluster of the fearful gerrymanders poking a trace of their tails into Travis, a lot of local voters may no longer be sure what districts they are in.

Here's the full day-by-day results, including both in-person and returned mail-in ballots:

Primary May 14 May 15 May 16 May 17 Total
To Date
Democratic 1,517 839 960 1,067 4,683 0.74%
Republican 1,700 934 1,116 1,241 4,991 0.84%
Total 3,217 1,773 2,076 2,308 9,374 1.57%

The GOP is also running more impressive numbers in mail ballots, with more ballots requested and returned. However, they still have a lot outstanding.

Primary Mailed Returned Outstanding
Democratic 1,422 746 676
Republican 2,147 1,045 1,102
Total 3,589 1,791 1,798

So far, unsurprisingly, the GOP turnout is highest in South-West Travis, where the dueling punch-ups between Downton and incumbent Paul Workman in HD-47, and the vitriolic struggle between Sen. Jeff Wentworth and his cadre of far-right challengers in Senate District 25, has marginally motivated voters.

As for the Democrats, the leading location is the Travis County offices on Airport, but there's been some good turnout in the boxes on Ben White and Brodie. That could cause some head-scratching, since they're both in the new-look Congressional District 21 and the fight between Daniel Boone and Candace Duval has scarcely been lighting up the political sky. However, there could be some spill-over from the Lloyd Doggett campaign in neighboring CD35.

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