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Ahead of Texas primary, Republicans and Democrats agree on impact of voting

Only 17% of registered voters – about 15.2 million – cast ballots in the last midterm election in 2018. Both party chairs said it's important to vote in this primary

DALLAS — This week, as voters head to one of 47 different vote centers in Dallas County – Democrats and Republicans side-by-side in a joint primary for the first time – you can get the opposing county chairs to agree on one thing.

“We've had some kinks, here and there," said Dallas County Republican party chair Jennifer Stoddard-Hajdu.

“You know, I think we've had a few kinks here and there," Kristy Noble, the Dallas County Democratic party chair, said.

They both believe those procedural "kinks" are being properly ironed out. So, the next concern? Which side has the most motivated voters.

Dallas County elections, in raw numbers, shows that 8,687 Democrats cast ballots the first two days of early voting, versus 5,060 Republicans who cast theirs.

For Stoddard-Hajdu, though, "we have seen much more enthusiasm in the (Republican) party than we have in quite some time."

For both parties, there’s plenty of voter enthusiasm for at least one race: District 30, which is being vacated by longtime serving U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson.

There are six candidates on the Republican side. Nine Democrats on the other.

“But with nine candidates in that race, it's a great time to be touching and getting voters out there who haven't voted in the past,” Noble said.

There is disagreement over the impact of SB1.

“I am very pleased with the changes in the mail-in ballot system,” Stoddard-Hajdu said.

But those changes to mail-in voter requirements has so far resulted in high rejection rates. Dallas County has reported approximately 28% of mail-in ballots rejected so far. Noble flagged that as an issue of concern for the Democratic party, leading Dems to post a warning about it on their website and to offer rides to the polls to vote in person instead.

RELATED: Mail-in ballot application rejection rate worrying county elections officials

But in a state with historically low voter turnout, only 17% of registered voters – about 15.2 million voters – cast ballots in the last midterm election in 2018, according to nonpartisan, nonprofit The Texas Tribune.

Despite that, both party chairs – in agreement again – are encouraging voters, regardless of party, to "just please get out and vote,” Stoddard-Hajdu implored

“Let your voice be heard,” Noble said.

Early voting lasts through Feb. 25. Primary Election Day is March 1.



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