by Alex Samuels, Texas Tribune
Texas has a record-breaking 15 million people registered to vote ahead of the November election, the Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday.
Texas has 15,015,700 voters registered according to a preliminary estimate — over 777,000 more than were registered in time for the March primaries. The deadline to register to vote was Tuesday.
“If you want to vote you must be registered, so it’s good to see that so many Texans are preparing for this November’s election,” Secretary of State Carlos Cascos said in a statement. “Registration is just the first step. I encourage Texans to prepare now for this fall’s election.”
In 2012, Texas registered 13,646,226 voters or 75 percent of the voting-age population. In 2008, the number was 13,575,062 or 77 percent of the voting-age population, according to the news release. This year’s figure amounts to 78 percent of the voting-age population and more than 1.3 million additional registered voters from four years ago, according to the news release.
Travis County reported earlier this week that over 90 percent of its residents had registered to vote, a milestone in the county’s history. Nearby Bexar County tallied registering over 1 million people to vote, a 12.8 percent increase since November 2012. Harris County, the state’s largest county, reported registration numbers were up this year by 6 percent, their steepest increase in 16 years.
Early voting for the Nov. 8 election begins Oct. 24 and runs through November 4. The last day to request a ballot by mail is Oct. 28.
The rise in registered voters follows scrutiny over the state’s voter ID law. In July, a federal appeals court found that part of the state’s voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act. Texas agreed in August to weaken the law for the November election by allowing anyone without a photo ID to vote by signing an affidavit stating they are a U.S. citizen and providing proof of residence. Last month, a federal judge ordered the state to issue new voter registration materials after the U.S. Department of Justice and other plaintiffs argued that certain press releases and polling information were misleading.
Texas counties with most registered voters