Now that early voting has come and gone, we finally get to see how many people have already cast their ballots.
In Potter County, polling places saw more than 4,400 people.
“We thought our numbers were disastrously lower than in 2008, and they’re not,” Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley said. “They’re 600 voters lower.”
The numbers were higher in Randall County.
“Voter turnout really had me nervous, there for a while, during early voting,” Randall County Elections Administrator Shannon Lackey said. “It was so slow, and I just couldn’t believe that, especially with having no incumbent. I was really, really shocked.”
Lackey tells us that number surged in the last three days, bringing the early voting total to more than 10,000 voters.
So, why was the pace for early voting so slow?
“I firmly believe it’s because a lot of voters were waiting to see who was still going to be in the race,” Lackey said. “They didn’t want to waste a vote, so they were waiting until after the South Carolina primaries, the Nevada caucses, those kind of things. Then we had the big Republican debate on Tuesday night, of last week, and then we really saw a lot of voters come out.”
In fact, the G.O.P. lineup lost a big contender after polls had already opened on the High Plains. Near the end of the South Carolina primary, Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced he would suspend his campaign.
“I believe most people just wanted to make sure their vote truly was going to count, that the candidate they chose was still going to be in the running,” Lackey said.
She says a trend she typically sees is that 50% of people vote early, and 50% will wait until Election Day.
You can also check out Potter County Votes to find out different wait times at each polling place.