Early voting opening shatters turnout records in N. Texas

News 8's Jobin Panicker has more.

Voters smashed turnout records Monday, as voters began flocking to the polls to weigh in on the Nov. 8 presidential election and a multitude of other races.

On the first day of early voting, more than 58,000 Dallas County residents voted in person by the time polling places closed, according to unofficial totals. In Tarrant County, that number was more than 43,000. In Collin County, that number was more than 30,000.

Monday’s turnout tops past records in presidential races.

In Dallas County, 32,512 voters went to the polls on the first day of early voting in 2012 and 34,415 went to the first day of early voting in 2008.

In Tarrant County, 30,133 voters went to the polls on the first day of early voting in 2012 and 28,757 went on the first day of early voting in 2008.

In Collin County, 16,531 votes were cast on the first day of early voting in 2012 and 13,900 went on the first day of early voting in 2008. Officials also noted that there was a huge jump in population in Collin County between 2008 and today.

There were various voting glitches across the state Monday, including one notable case in Tarrant County that was shared many times after the incident was posted on Facebook.

In that complaint, a woman claimed she had cast a straight-party Republican vote, but noticed that her presidential vote had flipped to Democrat.

Frank Phillips, Tarrant County’s election administrator, said there were two such complaints on Monday. This one was resolved. The second they heard about through word of mouth and the election judge didn’t have any details.

In this type of case, he said there’s a standard procedure that calls for contacting the election judge to see what he or she can say about the problem, sending a technician to check the equipment and trying to replicate the problem at election headquarters.

Phillips said the election judge voided the woman’s ballot and moved her to a different machine where she was able to cast the vote she wanted. The equipment was checked, no problems were found and election officials were unable to replicate the error at headquarters.

“Typically, we’ve found it’s voter error with the equipment,” Phillips said. “Sometimes they vote straight party and then click on other candidates ... or do something with the wheel.

“There is not an issue with the equipment.”

In Denton County, the problem did seem to be the equipment. Officials said a computer password problem left some election machines unable to operate. Election officials scrambled to address the problem that left them unable to operate machines at 10 of the 22 polling locations.

They swapped out equipment and all voting sites there were up and running by 10:30 a.m.

This story contains WFAA and Star-Telegram reporting. Click here to read a more comprehensive breakdown of the first day of early voting in Tarrant County from our media partners at the Star-Telegram.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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