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Early Voting Is Up Big Ahead of Amendment Election

Also, Land Commissioner George P. Bush touts his management skills and co-teaches a Texas history class online.

Prop 1 signs posted at the along the Adaptive Sports and Recreation facility on West Grey in Houston, TX for the November 20…

Turnout in the state’s largest counties in advance of Tuesday’s constitutional amendment election is up by more than 117,000 votes over a similar point two years ago.

According to numbers kept by the Secretary of State for the 15 largest counties by population, 341,871 votes have been cast over the first 10 days of voting. In 2013, 224,522 votes had been cast over a similar period.

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The gap in turnout is even greater when compared to 2011 and 2009, when 116,059 votes and 125,444 votes, respectively, were cast over the same timeframe.

Looking at the top five counties by population, turnout in Harris County — where voters are choosing a new mayor and voting on a controversial non-discrimination ordinance — is up 60,000 votes over 2013.

But significant gains weren’t just seen there. Four of the five largest counties registered big jumps in turnout. Only Travis County has seen fewer voters go to the polls early.

Early voting ends today.

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During his nine months in office, George P. Bush has saved Texas taxpayers millions of dollars with a 10-percent across-the-board budget cut while also implementing zero-based budgeting, the freshman land commissioner told an audience Thursday at an annual meeting of tax and fiscal experts.

The moves were among a long list of actions Bush ticked off during a short, 12-minute luncheon speech Thursday at a hotel ballroom near the state Capitol — from overhauling the General Land Office's contracting procedures to bolstering its social media presence — that he said are part of a mission to boost "trust and transparency" at the oldest state agency. The 582-employee land office oversees 13 million acres in public lands and raises billions of dollars for the state's public schools by selling mineral rights to energy companies.

"I believe in being open and trusting with the people of Texas and when you're doing things the right way, like we're doing, we shouldn't have anything to hide from,” Bush said.

Later in the day, Bush got to add history teacher to his résumé. Bush co-taught a Texas history class that also was streamed live on the General Land Office’s website on Thursday afternoon.

The class, titled “Opportunity in Texas: Land and Its Legacy in Texas History,” focused on how land grants in the 1800s encouraged settlers to come to Texas, using documents from the GLO’s archive to drive the point across. Viewers were able to submit questions for the commissioner during the lesson via Twitter.

Bush taught the lesson alongside K-12 Education Outreach Coordinator Buck Cole.

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