Travis County breaks voter registration record, sees surge of early voters


Juan Diaz / Hilltop Views

Democratic candidate yard signs line streets in south Austin. Early voting continues through Friday, Oct. 30.


Nearly all of Travis County’s estimated 850,000 eligible voters are registered to vote early in the Nov. 3 general and special elections, according to Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant. At a record 97%, the registration rate sees a 4 percentage point increase from that of the 2016 election season. 

“This number even exceeds my expectations,” Elfant said in a news release. “To everyone who registered to vote, thank you. To our civic army of volunteers who registered voters, thank you. To my voter registration staff, thank you.”

Early voting began on Oct.13 in Texas, and voters have been flocked to the polls since. County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir reported that 35,873 county residents cast ballots on the first day of early voting, another substantial increase from the 2016 election cycle at 2,200 more votes.

County vote totals are provided daily through Oct. 30. As of Oct. 19, 266,008 Travis residents have cast ballots, just over 30% of registered voters in the county, according to the clerk’s office. These numbers, set to increase, can be tracked on the clerk’s website

With 37 early voting sites, Austinites have plenty of options to choose from to exercise their 15th amendment right. The South Austin Recreation Center, Austin Central Library and Dan Ruiz Branch Library locations are closest to St. Edward’s University with each less than four miles away from campus. A list of all locations can be found here. 

While Austin Central Library had the largest reported number of voters on the first day of early voting (1,434), Pflugerville ISD Rock Gym has seen the largest turnout thus far at nearly 10,000 voters as of today. 

In a Facebook post, Elfant stated that this early voting period has seen the “most mail ballots ever cast in any Travis County election.” This comes as no surprise as COVID-19 has pushed citizens to take precaution, but voter turnout is still steady despite the pandemic. “We are on track to surpass the record 51% of registered voters who voted early in 2016,” he said in another post. 

Elfant is pleased with the registration numbers, but he urges people to maintain the momentum.

“Now all those that are registered have to get out and vote.”

Early Voting sites are open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The early voting period in Texas ends on Oct. 30 and Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Be sure to check out identification requirements here.