US election 2020: Over 7 million voted early in Texas; Kamala Harris to campaign on Friday

Texas has seen high voter participation during the early voting period, which began on 13 October

Press Trust of India October 26, 2020 08:44:30 IST
US election 2020: Over 7 million voted early in Texas; Kamala Harris to campaign on Friday

An early voting polling location in Brownsville, Texas. AP

Houston: A massive number of people have already voted in Texas since early voting started on 13 October, leading experts to predict that the state could reach overall turnout levels unseen so far this century.

Over seven million people have already voted in the state of Texas ahead of next week's general election, a figure that accounts for nearly 43 percent of all registered voters in the state.

A total of 25,658 people voted in person Sunday and 560 mail ballots were returned while 1,090,445 people in Harris County have cast a ballot so far as per Harris County Clerk.

President Trump won Texas in 2016, as has every Republican presidential nominee for several decades, but Democratic nominee Joe Biden's campaign is hoping a surge in early and mail-in voting will turn the state blue for the first time since the late 1970s.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, will head to Texas Friday, the last day of early voting in the state, as polls show a close race at the top of the ballot here.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign sent an email to Democratic lawmakers Sunday saying the travel plans “will be publicly released momentarily,” the Texas Tribune reported.

It’s not clear yet where in the state Harris, a US senator from California, will campaign.

According to US Rep Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, the trip comes amid massive voter turnout in Texas.

“As the most recent statewide polls showing Vice President Biden ahead and the historic voter turnout in Central Texas and urban areas across the state indicate, we are changing Texas,” Doggett said in a statement.

“Sen Harris would not be here near election eve were this not a winnable state. And, as Texas changes, we will change our country and our world for the better.”

Biden’s wife, Dr Jill Biden, and Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, have made campaign stops in Texas in recent weeks. Joe Biden, however, has stuck to more traditional battleground states such as Pennsylvania.

A Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler poll among likely voters released Sunday shows Biden with a narrow lead over President Donald Trump, 48 per cent to 45 per cent, within the margin of error. The poll was conducted from 13 to 20 October.

Texas has seen high voter participation during the early voting period, which began on 13 October. As of Saturday, nearly 7 million Texans had voted, according to the Texas secretary of state’s office, or roughly 40 percent of all registered voters.

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted from 16 to 19 October and released Wednesday found that Texans who are casting their ballots at early voting locations are more likely to back Biden, with 48 percent of early voters for Biden and 46 percent for Trump.

Among those who said they will vote in person on Election Day, 62 percent support Trump and 32 percent back Biden. And among those who are voting by mail or absentee ballot, 63 percent said they are voting for Biden and 31 percent for Trump

The survey also showed Sen John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) lead over Democrat MJ Hegar slipping since September.

Cornyn now has an 8-point lead over Hegar. He had an 11-point advantage in the September poll.

Republicans have pounced on Biden''s remarks about the oil industry at the Thursday debate, which they believe could hurt the Democrat in Texas and other states.

“And how do they propose to ‘transition’ 270 million cars with internal combustion engines? What will that cost?” Cornyn tweeted last week.

The October poll shows that Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a major political problem.

Forty-four per cent of Texans said they have no confidence in Trump’s ability to keep the public safe from the virus, up from 32 percent who said so last month.

The poll, however, shows that Texas voters continue to feel more confident about Trump’s ability to manage the economy compared with Biden, validating GOP lawmakers and strategists who have said for months that the economy is the president’s biggest advantage.

The poll shows Biden leading Trump among voters aged 18 to 44 and Trump winning those 45 years old and older. Trump has support from 56 percent of Texas voters older than 65, his best age group.

A spokeswoman for the president’s reelection campaign said volunteers knocked on 131,000 doors and made 838,000 phone calls to Texans last week.

“The Democrats talk a big game but are falling short in the face of Trump Victory’s superior ground game and spirit,” spokeswoman Samantha Cotten said Saturday.

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