Voter turnout down across Texas and Central Texas compared to 2008

SAN MARCOS — In spite of record early voting turnout in counties statewide, fewer voters cast a ballot this year than in 2008.
About 7.9 million voters, or 58 percent of the Texans registered to vote, cast a ballot this year. In 2008, about 8 million people voted, 60 percent of those eligible.
In Travis County, the percentage of registered voters casting a ballot dropped from 66 percent four years ago to about 61 percent this election. The number of voters also dropped, from 402,832 in 2008 to 389,687 in 2012, according to unofficial election results.
Hays and Williamson counties experienced similar declines, with the percentage of eligible Hays voters participating sliding from 66 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2012, and from 71 to 65 percent in Williamson County.
Some elections officials suggested that less enthusiasm for the presidential race this year dampened voter turnout.
“Regardless of whether someone likes Obama, in 2008 his candidacy excited many people in this country to a fever pitch,” Rick Barron, Williamson County’s elections administrator, said.
Travis County’s Elections Director Michael Winn said the county’s “love affair” with the president has gone stale since 2008, but he called any election with 60 percent or more voter turnout a success.
Rosemary Edwards, chairwoman of the Travis County Republican Party, said she is disappointed that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost the election but that she doesn’t think the 5 percent drop in voter turnout is significant.
“It was lighter than 2008, but there was not the voter enthusiasm that had been created by Democrats in 2008,” she said.
In 2004, when President George W. Bush sought reelection against Sen. John Kerry, about 57 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in Texas.

Posted in: News Articles • Tagged with: ,