Early voting started on Monday, a week ago, with a little less than a week to go. In northeast Texas, polls were open on Sunday, October 26. Pastors urged their congregations to leave their Sunday morning service and go to the polls to vote, right after services end. According to local ABC affiliate WFAA Channel 8 News program Inside Texas Politics, Sunday, October 26, the predominance of walk-in votes during the past week of early voting are expected to go to the Republican candidate for governor, Greg Abbott; whereas, the mail-in vote would likely go to Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate in that race. Their sources for these conclusions seem to be the unofficial polls, responses to recent television ads, and opinions on roadside billboards across the state. Obviously, no votes have yet been counted.
Pundits for ITP on Sunday attempted to analyze hot button issues which might affect voter turnout and temperament. Topping that list of issues was the Ebola crisis that had only one patient to die, so far. That happened to be Eric Duncan who died at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. As the rest of the country wondered how the hospital could have gotten it so wrong, two healthcare professionals at that same hospital who had cared for Mr. Duncan tested positive for the virus and had to be treated, successfully it appears, at hospitals outside the state. Most citizen and expert opinion was that mis-communicated protocol, training, and the use and removal of protective gear guidelines between the CDC and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital derailed attempts to keep Ebola out of the U.S. Others saw the cuts to the CDC budget by Congress as the overriding cause of lack of readiness to accurately plan for handling this disease. Texas Republican governor, Rick Perry, like with the border security issue, has now decided to put blame on the Obama Administration for the hospital’s mistakes, said Inside Texas Politics. According to Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune executive editor and ITP political expert,
“It turns out that the state has more authority than the governor had said that they did. They [the state/Texas] could impose quarantines; they can impose no-fly rules; they can tell people to stay home; they can tell them to stay off planes, and trains, and cruise ships and all those kinds of things, and didn’t.”
On the effectiveness of groups like Battleground Texas that are organized to get potential voters out to the polls to vote and the possible impact they might actually make in deciding the upcoming elections, Ramsey told ITP,
“They’ve got to close the gap. The Democrats in the governor’s race in 2010 lost by about 600,000 votes. And, one measure of how these groups are doing with their vote production efforts is how much they narrow that gap. So, you’ll be able to look in Dallas where the Democrats won last time by 54,000 votes. If Dallas is going to make up its share of the statewide thing, Battleground Texas, and groups like it, need to produce another 45,000 votes or so. And, so, that will be the measure of how they did, whether the Democrats win or lose the election.”
Greg Abbott, Republican candidate for governor, refused to answer a hypothetical question during week one of early voting in an interview with Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express News. The question was if Abbott would have defended a state ban against interracial marriage, like Texas had back in the late 1960s. Considering that Abbott has an interracial marriage should have made this question a moot issue. The viewpoint that the question should have been simply answered was expounded upon in a Forward Progress article by Allen Clifton. However, Jim Mitchell of Dallas News Opinion (Dallas Morning News Editorial Board Blog) more candidly concluded,
“The intent of the question was to contrast his answer with his view that, as attorney general, he is obligated to defend all state laws, the line that he has used to justify his defense of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.
“Rather than say “no I would not defend a ban on interracial marriage,” he slipped into an accurate, but weak response … As a result, the headlines today are all about how Abbott has wavered on interracial marriage.”
In Texas, you’ll need a state or federal-issued picture ID with you when you go to the polls to vote. One Inside Texas Politics contributor said on Sunday the law that’s called the harshest one of its kind in the U.S. is keeping a lot of voters at home, and “that is exactly what Republicans want.” ITP community correspondent, Mercedes Olivera, said,
“‘If they won’t vote for us, we won’t let them vote.’ Sounds like a GOP mantra, these days. Last week the Supreme Court decided to allow Texas to use its new photo-ID law in the November elections. It’s essentially a poll tax that will keep more than a half-million Texas voters from exercising their constitutional right. Most of those voters are blacks and Latinos. Republicans say it will prevent voter fraud. Nice try guys … Can you seriously tell me that the guy mowing your lawn is thinking, ‘I bet I can vote two or three times today, and not pay hefty fines and possible jail time.’
You may be laughing, now. But, it’s no laughing matter. The right to vote is the bedrock of our democracy. Do we really want to tamper with that?”
Remember to take one of three forms of identification with you:
*State-issued ID card