Early vote complete, Williamson turnout high

Posted in Election 2006, Williamson County at 1:20 pm by dembones

Aggressive efforts by political campaigns and parties in Williamson County have led to a record early voting turnout during a non-Presidential election. 39,100 of the county’s 208,521 registered voters have already cast their ballots. That represents 18.75 percent of registered voters.

The Secretary of State had reported Williamson county’s early voting turnout ratio led the state through Thursday. The final statewide totals are not yet posted.

Political campigns have no way of knowing how their candidates stand after 12 days of early voting. They can use past voting history to identify voters and make a prediction. Fewer than one in five registered voters in Williamson can be identified in this way, since 82.7 percent of the registered voters in Williamson county have not voted in the last three party primaries.

To measure the success of a party’s “Get out the vote” (GOTV) efforts, campaigns look at the ratio of early voters out of their identified base. By this measure, Republicans edged Democrats by turning out 49.8 percent of their base during early voting, while the Democrats were able to get 47.3 percent of their identified supporters to the polls.

This is the best GOTV effort by Democrats in Williamson County in any non-Presidential election since the current early voting rules were adopted.

The questions that remain unanswered are how the non-identified voters broke and how many identified voters broke ranks and voted for candidates from the other party. In any election, about 10 percent of identified voters will switch sides, but some political observers have noted that a national anti-incumbent wave may double or triple the number of fed-up Republicans who choose Democratic candidates.

Independent voters are those who have not voted in a party primary during the past six years, and represent the vast majority of voters. A majority of early voters (54.6 percent) in Williamson county were independent. The lure of two high-profile independent gubernatorial candidates may have brought these unaffiliated voters to the polls. The impact on the other races on the ballot won’t be known until the votes are counted Tuesday night.

If you are one of the 169,421 registered voters in Williamson County who has not yet cast a ballot, your one and only remaining opportunity is Tuesday. On election day, you must cast your ballot in the precinct in which you are registered. The Williamson County elections department will tell you where to vote.

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