Totals from the secretary of state this morning show that early voting is up big-time statewide compared to the 2006 gubernatorial election. From Oct. 18 to Oct. 29, more than 1.7 million Texas voters in the 15 largest counties cast early ballots — about 61 percent more than in 2006.
Harris County saw more than twice as many voters show up early compared to four years ago. Some 440,000 Harris County voters came out early this year, whereas just 191,000 voted early in 2006. Hidalgo County also saw a massive increase in early turnout: 141 percent. More than 51,800 voters cast early ballots in the Rio Grande Valley county this year, compared to just 21,500 in 2006.
The Harris County numbers could help Democratic gubernatorial challenger Bill White, the former mayor of Houston. He's well known there. Of course, the high turnout could just as easily be bad news if the increase is in the county's GOP-friendly precincts.