Texas State PoliticsVoting and ElectionsAmerican Government

Political Showdown in Texas as Early Voting Gets Underway

Posted on in Texas State Politics · Voting and Elections · American Government

After months of partisan wrangling over how best to conduct the election during the pandemic, early voting is underway in Texas. Throughout the state, Texans stood in long lines as counties reported record-shattering turnout.

High turnout was especially pronounced in the large, urban counties of Texas. The early voting numbers overshadowed the governor’s controversial decision to limit each county to one drop box for mail-in ballots in order to protect ballot security.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Political Showdown in Texas as Early Voting Gets Underway"

Links

“Two key Texas counties — Democratic stronghold Harris and traditionally red Denton — are setting early voting records”
https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/17/harris-denton-texas-early-voting/
 
“The Early Voting Numbers in Texas Are Bonkers. Here’s What That Does and Doesn’t Tell Us.”
https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/texas-early-voting-numbers-huge/
 
“Another day, another 100,000 Harris County ballots cast Friday”
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Another-day-another-100-000-Harris-County-15654406.php
 
“Marathon wait times, snaking lines mark the first day of early voting in Texas”
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/10/13/election-2020-texas-kicks-off-early-voting-long-lines/3645612001/
 
“What’s Behind Large Early Voting Turnout?”
https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics/decision-2020/whats-behind-large-early-voting-turnout/2461282/
 
“Early Voting Begins in Texas With High Turnout, Despite New Legal Developments on Voting Access”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/appeals-panel-upholds-abbotts-order-for-just-one-ballot-box-per-texas-county/2020/10/13/bc51869c-0d4d-11eb-8a35-237ef1eb2ef7_story.html
 
“Texas quickly appeals Travis County judge’s ruling that would allow multiple absentee ballot drop-off sites to reopen”
https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/15/texas-mail-in-ballot-drop-off-sites-travis/
 
“Judge lifts Texas governor’s order limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county”
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/judge-lifts-texas-governor-s-order-limiting-ballot-drop-boxes-n1243580

Assessment

  • Writing: Describe the history of voting in Texas. Why is voter turnout so routinely low in Texas?
  • Debate: Do you agree with Governor Abbott that voting by mail is vulnerable to fraud?
  • Poll: Do Democrats or Republicans get more benefit from voting by mail?
  • Short Answer: What can the state of Texas do to make voting an activity that is safe and encourages increased participation?

Current events quiz:

1) Why did Governor Greg Abbott order the closure of most county drop boxes for mail in ballots?

a. he was concerned about ballot security
b. funding was a problem
c. he was concerned about the spread of Covid-19
d. Texans had expressed and overwhelming preference for voting in person

2) Which counties reported the highest turnout numbers during the first week of early voting?

a, small, rural counties
b. traditionally Republican
c. traditionally Democratic
d. large, urban counties

3) All the following are true EXCEPT.

a. Voter turnout in Texas continues to improve
b. Texas had the lowest voter turnout among the states in 2014
c. Texas voter turnout in 2016 was higher than in 2014
d. Texas voter turnout rankings remain in the bottom 20%

4) Texas allows everyone who requests it to vote by mail. (T/F)

5) Texas routinely has one of the lowest levels of voter turnout in the country. (T/F)

6) Texas voter turnout has declined over the last several years. (T/F)

Answers:

1) A

2) D

3) B

4) False

5) True

6) False

 

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Featured Image Credit: Melinda Young Stuart

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