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The Brief: Record early voting numbers reported across Texas

The lines at various polling places were particularly long, and some voters said they had to wait for hours before casting their ballot.

Voters lined up at the Austin Community College Highland Campus in Austin for the first day of early voting on Oct. 24, 2016.

The Big Conversation

After the first day of early voting, Williamson, Bastrop and Hays counties all report having a record-breaking number of people showing up to the polls, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

The lines at various polling places were particularly long, and some voters said they had to wait for hours before casting their ballot. “I usually vote early for the very reason for escaping the lines, and this year that didn’t happen, so we’ll try again,” Amanda Stephens of Corpus Christi told the Tribune. She said she didn’t recall having trouble voting during previous election seasons.

As the Tribune’s Jim Malewitz reports, the Harris County Clerk’s Office said about 53,000 people had cast ballots by 4:30 p.m., which surpassed the roughly 47,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting during the 2012 presidential election. Denton County also saw a large turnout, although voting at 11 places started late because some machines needed to be reprogrammed.

According to Alicia Pierce, a spokeswoman for Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, it’s difficult to say whether the high polling turnout will continue throughout early voting, which continues until Nov. 4. “Historically, presidential elections tend to attract more voters, especially when there is not an incumbent in the White House,” Pierce said.

Tell us what this election means to you and your experience at the polls by joining ElectionLand and using the hashtag #TexasVotes2016.

Trib Must Reads

In Mexico, complaints about immigrants crossing illegally and taking jobs, by Julián Aguilar — In southern Mexico, locals say some migrants fleeing Central America are staying put instead of traveling on to the United States.

Clinton winning race for Texas newspaper endorsements by a lot, by Alex Samuels — Among the editorial boards of the top 40 newspapers in Texas, only one has endorsed Donald Trump for president.

Democrats hoping to pick up a few Texas House seats, by Edgar Walters — Between expected high turnout and Donald Trump, Democrats see chances for modest gains in the Texas House.

Rematches might see two Texas House districts flip again, by Alexa Ura — Republicans wrested away seats in Pasadena and San Antonio last election, and the ousted Democrats are trying to get them back.

Top Hispanic Republican in Texas says he will vote for Clinton, by Patrick Svitek — A leading Hispanic Republican in Texas has decided to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.   

The Day Ahead 

•    Tribune CEO Evan Smith talks with Mike McCaul, R-Austin, who represents Texas’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House. The early-morning event takes place at The Austin Club and will be livestreamed on the Tribune’s website for those unable to attend in person. 

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Texas Republicans go quiet on Trump in home stretch, Houston Chronicle 

Rudy Giuliani to share lessons on crisis management with North Texas on Thursday, The Dallas Morning News

Cornyn and Bush: Help veterans transition to law enforcement, San Antonio Express-News 

Texas A&M University gets green light for Rio Grande Valley expansion, Houston Chronicle 

Dallas judge slows down mass eviction of low-rent tenants in West Dallas, The Dallas Morning News

Economists: Oil dragging on Texas budget but won’t cause recession, Austin American-Statesman 

Patrick expresses concern over Texas' special ed efforts, Houston Chronicle 

Appealing to civility and unity, Collin County punts on challenging Paxton prosecution fees, The Dallas Morning News

Quote to Note

"Starting today in Texas, voters are casting their ballots in the most important election of our lifetimes. ... So as people across the state head to the polls, we hope you'll join us. Thanks to early voting, it's easier than ever to make your voice heard. Bring your friends and family with you. We can't afford to let anyone sit this out."

— Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said in a statement Monday encouraging Texans to vote early. 

Today in TribTalk

How Bexar County elections officials protect Texans' votes, by Jacquelyn F. Callanen — Wide-scale election rigging is extremely unlikely in Texas simply because our state's election process is very decentralized. 

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   "Along Came Kinky" Screening and Conversation on Oct. 27 at the LBJ Library

•   A Symposium on Transportation on Nov. 3 at Texas A&M University - Rudder Tower 

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 4 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

•   A Conversation with Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University on Dec. 1 at The Austin Club

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: A Preview of the 85th on Dec. 2 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

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