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A Dismal Snapshot of the First Three Days of Early Primary Voting

Fewer than 2 percent of Dallas County's registered voters have cast early primary ballots. Early voting ends on March 1.
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Democratic primary voters outnumber Republican voters at the Lochwood Library polling location by nearly 2 to 1 after three days of early voting. Bret Redman

Early voting in the March primary elections began Tuesday, and so far, turnout has been slow in Dallas County. 

The Republican and Democratic ballots include dozens of races, including two Dallas County commissioner seats, a whole slate of judges, state and federal lawmakers, and the president of the United States. 

Out of 1,424,183 registered Dallas County voters, roughly 24,217 have voted in the first three days of early voting. If you’re doing the math at home, that is 1.7 percent of registered voters.

To break that down further, 21,597 people have cast early votes, and another 2,620 have mailed in ballots. Of those mail-in ballots, 1,975 voted in the Democratic primary, and 645 returned ballots for the Republican primary. Voters have cast 8,902 early GOP ballots and 12,695 Democratic ballots.

So far, Democrats are averaging about 4,232 voters per day, and if that pace continues, that primary could see almost 47,000 early voters. Republicans are averaging about 2,967 ballots daily and are on pace to have nearly 32,641 early voters. Together, that would bring the county’s turnout for the primary to about 5.6 percent.

The city’s two most popular early voting locations so far are Fretz Park in Far North Dallas, where 1,186 voters have cast ballots, and Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on Northwest Highway, where 1,712 have voted. Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters at the Lochwood Library polling location by nearly 2 to 1 and at the Oak Lawn Library location by almost 5 to 2. Conversely, the University Park United Methodist Church location has 450 Republican ballots cast so far, compared to the Democrats 176.

Statewide, more people have voted in the Republican primary in the first two days than the Democratic primary.

The county and the state saw a massive influx of early voters in 2020’s primary, the last presidential election year. It was also at the height of the pandemic. Gov. Greg Abbott had extended early voting by a week, allowing mega centers (including one at the American Airlines Center) to encourage social distancing while voting.

That year, about 23.6 percent of registered voters in Dallas cast early ballots. Statewide, more Democrats voted in the primaries than Republicans, but Donald Trump still led the state in the general election in November by 5.6 percentage points.

Early voting will continue through March 1, and primary election day is March 5. In Dallas County, voters can cast ballots at any of 64 voting centers in the county. Polling locations will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on February 24 and February 26 through March 1, and from noon to 6 p.m. on February 25.

Author

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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