Texas officials report record 8.5M early votes five days before election

Texas officials report record 8.5M early votes five days before election

Election officials in Texas say more than 8.5 million people have already voted ahead of next week's general election, nearly equalling the total number of votes cast in the state in 2016. 

As of Wednesday, 8,525,424 people in Texas have cast their ballots since early voting began on Oct. 13, according to data posted on the state's website. More than 40 percent of all registered voters in the state had had already voted voted by Sunday.  

The 8.5 million number represents 94 percent of all the votes cast in the 2016 general election. 

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On the first day of early voting, local election officials reported long lines snaking around polling places with multiple localities shattering records for number of votes cast. 

Both President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News MORE have been making plays for the state, which has gone red every year since 1976. 

For the first time in years, multiple pollsters have moved Texas into the "toss-up" category, citing a renewed enthusiasm for Democratic politicians there and an increase in grassroots political action. 

While Trump has maintained a steady lead in most statewide polls in Texas, a new poll released this week shows him neck and neck with Biden. 

“Democrats have been dreaming of a Blue Texas for longer than most Texans have been alive. This is the clearest sign that Democrats are close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not elections. Democrats have probably surged almost all the votes they can get out of the Lone Star State; the question is whether Republicans will be motivated enough to turn out on Election Day,” John Cluverius, associate director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, said in a release on the survey
 
A record number of Americans are expected to vote early and by mail as a result of ongoing public health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.