Happy Election Eve from BLUE Dallas County, Texas! Let me say that again, if anyone missed it: BLUE Dallas County, Texas.
The early/mail voting numbers are in for my precinct. I am the Alternate Election judge for my precinct, and will be there bright and early at 6:00 AM to open up. We must mark all the early and mail/absentee voters into our copy of the voter roll before the polls open tomorrow morning, so we know who has already voted. There are 1,999 registered voters in the precinct in 2012, and as of last night when we received the official count from the Dallas County Elections Administrator's office, 1,000 of them had voted.
Step over the five-day-old, post-Hallowe’en, Election Eve roadkill smashed pumpkin detritus for more Lone Star state on-the-ground, at the grass-roots precinct level details. Watch the pepinos.
In 2008, there were 2,101 registered voters, and 1,566 voted, for a 74.54% turnout of registered voters. So registration is down about 5% this year from 2008. If that 2008 turnout rate holds for the in-person rate, we can expect about 490 more voters tomorrow from 7 AM to 7 PM. I am ambivalent: hoping for less, actually, given the makeup of the precinct, though more Election Day turnout may mean more Democrats. But it’s not so simple here in my Dallas precinct.
480 voters (30.6% of voters) went straight GOP in 2008, and 284 (18.1%) went straight Democratic, and 3 voted straight Libertarian. That’s 48.78 % of those who voted went straight ticket. There were no over votes, and 799 (51.22%) under votes. Under votes means those who did not vote in every race, and did not vote straight party. In a word, more than half split their votes. The precinct breaks generally 57% R – 42% D. In 2008, it was 887 McCain – 665 Obama, with 9 Libertarian, 2 write-ins, and 3 under votes.
For comparison to the county-wide vote, in 2008 there were 187,980 (39.16%) GOP straight voters, and 289,551 (60.32%) Democratic straight voters. For context, the county totals were Obama/Biden 422,989 (57.15%), McCain/Palin 310,000 (41.89%), Barr/Root (Lib.) 42361 (0.59%), and 2,724 (0.37%) write-ins. It is instructional to look at the 2008 statewide Senate race with the eminently qualified but woefully under-funded Democrat Rick Noriega against “Big” John Cornyn (R-nutcase) went Noriega 396,354(54.77%), Cornyn 312,781 (43.22%), Schick (Lib.) 14,478 (2.0%). So, the crossover went actually silghtly against Noriega in Dallas County, compared to the Presidential numbers, assuming he had little hope of the Libertarian voters.
In this election, there is Ted “Crazy Troll” Cruz (R-Teabagger) against Democrat Paul Sadler for the open Senate seat being vacated (finally!) by Kay Bailey “Sparkle Pony” Hutchison. Sadler is as under-funded, if not more, than Noriega was in 2008. Anecdotally, I have spoken to Republicans and Independents in my own precinct who want nothing to do with him, and are going to vote for Sadler. Cruz, the Teabagger, beat Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for the GOP nomination, totally displeasing the "mainstream" party leadership. Sadler was endorsed by the Dallas Morning News, which went roughly 75% R - 25% D in its endorsements (many of the Dem. endorsements were for candidates with no opposition or in safe Dem. districts or seats), so there may be hope. I fear that Cruz will cruise to a win, but by a perhaps smaller margin than Cornyn did over Noriega. Small steps, perhaps, but let’s watch those Sadler-Cruz results as an indication statewide of the shift in the electorate.
You may help Sadler's campaign here: http://www.sadlerforsenate.com/
Mine is a suburban precinct, with a 35-year-old housing stock, with plenty of GOP voters, and many “empty-nesters” (of which we will soon be one, when our son is accepted somewhere for college). The demographic skews older (at 57, we are among the younger end), quite white/Anglo (75-80%) but with a good dose of younger families with younger kids having moved in the last few years, drawn by the desirable schools. Slowly the housing is turning over, and that means a younger, and a somewhat more diverse population. THAT is what gives me hope both in this election and for the future of Texas, if my fairly red Dallas suburban precinct is representative. And add to that the inexorable march of time and demographic changes that are here now and are coming in the future.
There are a number of downballot state races (Education Commission, etc.), state Rep. and Senate seats, and county-wide races (County Commissioners and County Judge, Sheriff, District Attorney, judgeships), all of which are expected to continue Democratic control in Dallas County. I’ll try to report back on the results in my precinct (when available) for a micro look at how Dallas County, and Texas, are slowly but inevitably changing. We may be pleasantly surprised.