The brisk turnout in the first days of early voting slowed midweek and by the time the last ballot was cast around 9:30 p.m. Friday, turnout was down compared to 2008.
Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips checked with Tarrant County elections officials after he saw the drop in Denton County voting and learned that they, too, had seen a slowdown.
“It’s less than it was four years ago — roughly 11,000 less — but it’s still a good turnout,” Phillips said.
Thousands of voters took advantage of the county’s 17 locations during early voting this year.
In all, 163,078, or 41.7 percent of the county’s 391,024 registered voters, cast ballots in person during the state’s 12-day window for early voting.
Phillips estimates that about 60,000 will vote in neighborhood polling places on Election Day.
“We’ll be very busy, but we’ve got 97 precincts working,” Phillips said.
On Election Day Tuesday, Denton County voters will help choose not only a president and a new U.S. senator, but also work their way down the ballot in many other races and local issues.
Most of Denton County’s locations saw hundreds of early voters each day — with central locations in Carrollton, Denton, Flower Mound, Frisco and Lewisville seeing thousands.
When the lines closed at 7 p.m. Friday, those central locations continued to allow voting until everyone in line had cast a ballot. It was 9:30 p.m. before the Frisco and Flower Mound locations had finished, Phillips said.
Overall, an increasing percentage of Denton County voters had been coming out for the presidential races, from a 55 percent turnout for Bush vs. Gore in 2000, to a 65 percent turnout for Bush vs. Kerry in 2004, to a 71 percent turnout for Obama vs. McCain in 2008.
An increasing percentage of those registered voters also had been coming out early. In 2004, 37.6 percent of registered voters voted early. In 2008, 52.9 percent voted early.
But, if only another 60,000 vote Tuesday, overall turnout would be about 57 percent, much closer to levels seen in 2000.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.