Straight-ticket ballots — where voters choose parties instead of individual candidates — accounted for almost 64 percent of total votes cast in the state’s 10 biggest counties this year. And while Republican votes outnumber Democratic votes in some of those counties, the blue numbers are growing.

Two-thirds of the votes in the state’s two biggest counties — Harris and Dallas — were straight-ticket votes. In Harris County, Democratic straight tickets accounted for 35.3 percent of the overall vote, while in Dallas, straight-ticket Democrats cast 41.3 percent of the overall vote. Republican straight tickets were 30 percent of the total in Harris and 23.8 percent in Dallas. 

In both places, the Democratic straight-ticket vote has grown during the last four presidential elections. And in both places, Republican straight ticket voting fell a bit in 2008, rose in 2012 and fell again this year; GOP voters accounted for a bigger share in both places in 2004 than they did this year.

Dallas Democrats have outnumbered Republicans in straight-ticket voting over that entire period; Harris County started red and turned blue.

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The patterns vary by county, but Democrats have shown steady increases over the last four elections in almost every case. Republicans have had mixed results, with declining numbers in several of the top 10 counties. 

In Fort Bend County, where straight-ticket Democrats outnumbered Republicans this year, 76 percent of voters cast straight-ticket ballots in this year’s general election — the highest percentage among the top 10 counties. Travis County, where 52.9 percent of voters cast straight tickets, was the lowest.

Read more of the Tribune's related coverage:

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