Early Voting Could Predict Election Day Turnout

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ECTOR--Bond elections and the governor's race have voters hitting the polls in large numbers.  Early voting numbers in Midland and Ector Counties, this year, beat those in 2006.

Even though they don't anticipate anything going wrong, Election Administrators have been working to make sure things go off without a hitch.

Midland and Ector combined have about 138,000 registered voters. Close to 25,000 took advantage of early voting, leaving a large number that could potentially hit the polls on Tuesday.  That's why Election Administrators need all hands on deck.

"What affects us on Election Day is people that wait until 6:30 to go vote," Ruth Sloan with the Midland County Elections Office, said.

Sloan says their phones have already been ringing off the hook, the day before the election. Unfortunately some of the calls weren't the ones they wanted to hear.  Some poll workers won't be at their places on Tuesday morning.

"It's sometimes difficult when we've had workers drop out, like in the last two weeks and today, we've had quite a few calls.  I'll be honest, it's been quite surprising. We very seldom have to replace anyone this late," Sloan explained.

Ector County has been a little more fortunate. They haven't had to replace very many people at all.

According to Election Administrator Mitzi Scheible, "We always normally have somebody, we have three or four call and say I'm sorry, something's come up. They've had an emergency. We have 15 in reserve and I think (she's) had to replace three or four."

Early voting numbers this year are higher than in 2006, which was the last governor's race. Elections officials aren't sure if it's the state or local races that have folks hitting the polls.

According to Sloan, "Sometimes it makes it a little less numbers but with the media coverage that they've had on the top races, I'm sure that's what's bringing people out this year."

"Whether it's the governor race or it could be the Odessa College bond election also," Scheible added.

They've been working for the last couple of months making sure everything and everyone is in place when the first voters hit the polls at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.  Sloan says the number of workers that have called in isn't enough to affect running the election.  A reserve list with people to fall back on helps fill the gaps.

Both Midland and Ector counties say, they have this election covered.

"We will have every polling place manned with enough people working at the polling place. We will have enough trained workers," Sloan said.

"All my polls are ready and mandated and pretty much ready to go," Scheible added.