2020 Election

Congrats, Houston! We Keep Breaking Harris County Voting Records

Texans are leading the nation in early voting.

By Emma Schkloven October 13, 2020

Voters sign in to vote at Wheeler Baptist Church on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. 

Image: Daniel Kramer

Updated 12:32 p.m. Oct 30 

Well, here we are—the final day of Early Voting in Harris County. It’s been a wild ride these past three weeks, and we’ve loved being part of it with you. We’ve laughed together, mostly in response to @HarrisVotes’ hilarious-yet-informative tweets, and we’ve cried together (tears of laughter, we mean; whoever’s running that account deserves a sticker).

Now, it all comes down to this, so let’s take a moment to relive the highlights. Yesterday evening, the Harris County Clerk’s Office announced that we’d broken the all-time voter turnout record, surpassed the county’s 2016 total votes of 1.34 million ballots via, what else, a hilarious tweet. 

More residents have voted in Harris County than there are people living in the entire state of Maine. Harris County’s leading Texas in voter turnout—because we’re awesome—but the Lone Star State has also blown its 2016 total turnout out of the water, casting more than 9 million ballots. Yes, we said 9 million, which, in case you’re wondering, is larger than the population of Switzerland. Basically, we just want you to know how proud of you we are, Houston. You’ve showed up and showed out like we always knew you could.


And, of course, while Early Voting ends today at 7 p.m., you still have one more chance to vote in this all-important election: Election Day itself on November 3.

Updated 4:13 p.m. Oct 29 

Well, folks, we're almost to the end of Early Voting, and as of last night, 1,270,281 Harris County residents have cast their ballots. That's about the same as the entire population of Travis County—take that, Austin! It's also more than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Montana.

We're also on track to beat our entire voter turnout for the 2016 election today. Come on, y'all, let's do this. 

Early voting ends tomorrow at 7 p.m., and eight polling locations are open all night tonight—so you can go vote at 11 p.m. after you get off a late shift, or you can even go vote at 3 a.m., just for the sake of novelty. Either way works. Or, you can go old school and vote on Election Day (November 3, if you haven't heard by now).

Oh, and keep sending us your "I voted" selfies. And maybe play some election bingo while you're at it. 


Updated 4:13 p.m. Oct 26 

We’re in homestretch of early voting, folks. And what a great run we’ve had so far. Texas is leading the country in early voting, having already cast 7.2 million ballots. Meanwhile, 1.09 million Harris County residents have voted. Not bad for a state that, according to Fair Vote, came in 3rd place for worst voter turnout in the last presidential election.


And the big one is still on its way. From October 27–29, many polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Meanwhile, eight polling places will be open for 24-hour voting on Oct 29. Check out this handy dandy map from the Harris County Clerk’s Office to see where. 

Early voting runs through October 30, and Election Day is November 3. Let’s finish strong, Houston!

Updated 4:15 p.m. Oct 23 

WE DID IT, HOUSTON! A million Harris County voters have now cast their ballots during early voting. You read that right—we said a million.


That’s more votes than there are people in Alaska. Hell, that’s more than the entire population of Luxembourg! And there’s still a week left of early voting. Just imagine how many more ballots we can cast in seven days.

Want to celebrate? Check out this tweet from the Harris County Clerk's Office (be sure to turn your sound on).

Updated 3:07 p.m. Oct 23 

Boom. As of October 23, Harris County has surpassed 2016 early voting numbers.

And get ready, ya’ll cause we’re on track to pass a MILLION this weekend. Maybe even today—we’re only 16,000 votes away.

Updated 11:25 a.m. Oct 20 

It says something when the third largest county in the country runs out of “I Voted” stickers (if you managed to snag one, send us your selfies).

It's also the perfect embodiment for Harris County’s record-breaking early voter turnout. Just a week into early voting, and we’re more than halfway to the 1.3 million ballots Harris County cast in the 2016 presidential election. That was our highest voter turnout ever, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo noted in a tweet. Ever, ya’ll.

While the volume of early voting has declined since last week, when Harris County residents cast more than 100,000 ballots four days in a row, a total of 719,840 residents have voted in the first week of early voting. 'Cause we’re awesome! It’s not just us Houstonians, either (though we’re clearly at the top). The Lone Star State is leading the nation in early voting, having cast a whopping 4 million ballots so far, according to the U.S. Elections Project. The number is especially exciting because Texas has historically been one of the worst states in terms of voter turnout (a pathetic 48th out of 50 states and D.C., according to Fair Vote). Just in case you don’t know, Vote By Mail ballot applications are due this Friday, October 23. Meanwhile, early voting runs through October 30, and Election Day itself is November 3.

Updated 11:20 a.m. Oct 19 

Alright, y'all, we’re beginning to slow down, but what a week we had! Almost 100,000 of you made your voice heard over the weekend by casting your ballots (99,977 to be exact), while more than 17,000 mail-in ballots were returned. That brings our early voting total as of Sunday night to 628,708 ballots—which is more than the populations of Vermont and Wyoming (though not the populations of Vermont and Wyoming together … at least not yet). Suffice to say, we rocked the vote during the first week of Texas early voting here in Harris County. And there’s still plenty of time to make your voice heard, if you haven’t already. Early Voting runs through October 30, and, of course, Election Day is November 3. 

Oh, and keep on sending us your "I voted" selfies.

Updated 4:25 p.m. Oct 16 

Here’s a fun one for you: As of 2:30 p.m. October 16, Harris County voters have cast more ballots than the total number of early in-person votes that were cast in the 2004 presidential election.

If you can’t remember, that was the year we re-elected George W. Bush over Sen. John Kerry; the year Michael Phelps won his first Olympic gold medal (and his second, and his third, and fourth through sixth, plus two bronzes—he really is a showoff); and the year of the Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show. In other words, that’s a super old record, and we crushed it in just the fourth day of early voting. Imagine where we’ll be by the time early voting polls close on October 30.

Updated 11:19 a.m. Oct 16 

What is even happening right now? Yesterday marked the third day in a row that Harris County saw over 100,000 ballots cast. In a row, ya’ll! More than 105,000 ballots were cast on October 15 (105,175 to be exact), plus 6,260 mail ballots were returned. That’s the third straight day that we’ve broken the record for early voter turnout in Harris County. And in case you’re wondering (because we know you are if you’re still reading at this point) our three-day early voter haul stands at 398,966 ballots cast and 50,609 mail-in ballots returned—with more than two full weeks of early voting left to go. We’d also like to take a moment to thank whoever is running Harris County Clerk’s Twitter account during early voting, 'cause they’ve been slaying it with gems like these:

Seriously, folks, check out those hilarious pet photos, and keep sending us your “I Voted” selfies (we also accept pics of grumpy furry friends). Remember, early voting runs through October 30, and—in case you somehow managed to forget with all the TV ads, Facebook alerts, and radio spots (yup, those are still a thing)—Election Day is November 3.

Updated 11 a.m. Oct 15 

We can’t stop winning, Houston. Why? In just two days of early voting, Harris County has cast 287,531 ballots (we cast 114,996 ballots plus 3,012 mail-in votes yesterday, in case you wanted the specifics). Oh, and we added 13,698 votes to that total in the first two hours of Day Three. Because we’re awesome.

How awesome you ask? Well, Travis County also broke a record yesterday with their second day total of 38, 616 ballots while Dallas County saw nearly 60,000 in-person voters, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Adorable. So, do as Lizzo’s dress from last night’s Billboard Music Awards told you: Vote. (Congrats on your Top Song Sales Artist win, Lizzo! We love you.) 

Unless, of course, you’ve already voted. It’s one vote per customers, folks, and we ain’t no cheats—no matter what Ben Sasse thinks.

Updated 5:45 p.m. Oct 14

Alright, now ya’ll are just showing off. A little after 3 p.m. on October 14, the Harris County Clerk’s Office announced that 76,000 votes had been cast so far that day, which—as we’re sure you've guessed—broke the previous record high for ballots cast on the second day of early voting. Historically, the highest days of early voting are the first and last days, so breaking a record on Day 2 is a pretty big deal. And in case you’re wondering, more than a million Texans have already cast their ballots in this election. It should be noted that Harris County’s still waaay ahead of the rest of the state in terms of numbers, even though we all know it’s not a competition (it’s totally a competition).  So, please enjoy this School House Rock-esque GIF while you pat yourself on the back. And keep sending us those “I Voted” stickers!

Updated 12:30 p.m. Oct 14

IT’S OFFICIAL, HOUSTON. We helped Harris County absolutely demolish its all-time record for turnout on the first day of early voting, casting a whopping 128,186 ballots on October 13. Seriously, we cast more votes than the state of Georgia did on its first day. The. Entire. State. (P.S. We also beat Dallas by, like, double.) 

Not only did yesterday’s number soar past records for the first day of early voting, it also crushed Harris County’s single day early voting record of 100,000, which was achieved during the last day of early voting in 2016, according to the Harris County Clerk’s Office. “Yesterday, we did about 10,000 voters an hour,” Elizabeth Lewis, administrator of Communications and Voter Outreach for the Harris County Clerk’s Office, tells Houstonia.

In case you’re wondering, 11,000 of you took advantage of Harris County’s revolutionary drive-thru voting, the first of its kind in Houston and Texas (the Texas 14th Court of Appeals threw out a last-minute GOP lawsuit to block drive-thru voting yesterday). Plus, the county received 41,337 mail-in ballots—so, we’re pretty much crushing this election thing.

Of course, it wasn’t completely smooth. Long lines at certain polling places led a number of voters having to wait over an hour before casting their ballots, the clerk’s office confirmed. Some of you even stayed in line well after the polls closing at 7 p.m. to make sure your vote counted (in case you didn’t know, if you’re already in line when a polling place closes, they have to let you vote).

A certain amount of wait time is to be expected, according to Lewis, but overall the clerk’s office is chalking it up to the enthusiasm surrounding this year’s contentious election (plus, no one had to wait as long as voters did in Fort Bend County). “The fact that we had Election Day turnout numbers, or close to, is indicative of how excited people are,” adds Lewis.

Apparently, we’ve kept this momentum up as we rolled into day two of early voting, casting more than 8,500 ballots in just the first hour, and almost 40,000 before noon.

And there’re still 17 days to cast your ballot before Election Day. So, keep making your voices heard, Houston.

Updated 5:36 p.m. Oct 13

Seriously Houston, we’re killing it. We’ve SHATTERED Harris County’s first day of early voting record, casting 100,000-plus votes before 5 p.m., Harris County announced. That number beats the record for highest turnout during a single day of early voting. Ever.

So, what’re you waiting for, folks? There’s still over an hour left before polls close for the day, and wait times are still under 20 minutes.

And send us photos of those “I Voted” stickers. We wanna see 'em.

Published 3:15 p.m. Oct 13

We all know how important this election is—it’s hard not to when every TV channel and even our Facebook newsfeeds have been yelling at us about it. This afternoon, Houstonians rose to the occasion in the true Bayou City way: breaking Harris County’s record for the number of ballots cast in just half a day on the first day of early voting. Go us.

According to the Harris County Clerk’s office, the previous record of just under 68,000 people was set on the first day of the 2016 presidential election. We broke that record by 1:40 p.m. on Tuesday, the clerk’s office shared on Twitter.

We’re also seriously kicking Austin’s civic butt, in case you’re wondering, not to mention those poor folks in Fort Bend County, some of whom waited up to seven hours in line earlier today following technical glitches in the voting machines.

Harris County’s polls are still open until 7 p.m., meaning we could reach 120,000 by the end of the day if voting continues at this rate. Obviously, local leaders weren’t shy about congratulating Houston on its historic accomplishment. Who wouldn't want to brag a bit? 

So, if you cast your ballot this morning or afternoon, wear that “I Voted” sticker with pride. And for those of you who haven’t headed to the polls quite yet, now’s your moment. Seriously, most wait times are only about 20-minutes max (you can check for yourself by clicking on the map locations here).

Don't forget to read up on how to cast your ballot in as well as where to vote in our 2020 Early Voting Guide before you head to the polls.