Friday, December 28, 2012

What's The Procedure To Replace Our Committeewoman?

 
James White
Senate District 8 December Newsletter 
by Senatorial District 8 Committeeman James White

The main topics for this month are the SDEC TDP Election Debrief Meeting held earlier this month in Austin and SD8 Committeewoman Replacement Procedures.

Saturday, December 8, the SDEC met in an informal session to discuss election results, where we are, and what we can do. It was more than that, to me it seemed like one of our more information dense meetings. I learned a lot about what happened and what we are wanting to execute on going forward.

Let me give credit first to SD9 Committeeman Michael McPhail who takes real-time facebook notes of the SDEC meetings. Go "friend" him.  We all won't be at the top of the ticket. And I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in having the pox of 2010 revisited upon me.

December SDEC Meeting
Chairman Hinojosa said if we do what we've always done we'll get our butts kicked. I doubt many of you reading this would disagree.

We must put together a statewide structure, we must expand into the rural areas, we must run everywhere. That's me summarizing this and, well, I'm strongly agreeing. We may not have a Howard Dean 50 state opportunity but with work and showcasing our Democratic principles, we can get a 254 county strategy.

We also heard Darlene Ewing, Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, speak, along with Tarrant, and Bexar county chairs. Darlene gave me, indirectly (and I'm positive she wasn't thinking of me at all) a shoutout when she said there are Democrats everywhere in Dallas County, even in Far North Dallas. Yes, she said, there is even a Democratic club in Far North Dallas. Well, that would be the club I'm president of, The Far North Dallas Democrats and you can find us on FaceBook at Far North Dallas Democrats. I'll take the kind word even if it isn't directed at me because Darlene is a successful Democratic County chair and I - and we - can learn a lot from her.

I don't want to fill this news letter up with the minutiae of the event, but I have to say, the information content in this meeting was great. If you want to know more, let me know!

What's The Procedure To Replace Our Committeewoman?

SD8 Committeewoman Linda Magid will leave us this month and move to Bexar County, Texas.  I've been looking up the procedure for mid-cycle replacement of our committeewoman. At the SDEC meeting someone approached me and was fairly emphatic about another procedure that I did not think was correct, so I've researched it. This person perhaps astutely pointed out that I might need "help with complex ideas", so if you agree about that, then proceed with caution. What I believe to be the procedure is based on my questions and research, but the ultimate determination is made by the TDP - so with that proviso and warning, here is what I believe will happen. (TDP RULES CAN BE FOUND HERE. [pdf that opens in googledocs])
ARTICLE III: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES, SECTION D: STATE DEMOCRATIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, PARAGRAPH: SDEC MEMBERS, SUBSECTION (f) SDEC VACANCIES:

"When a vacancy occurs on the SDEC, the vacancy shall be filled by the majority vote of the members of the SDEC. The new member shall be an eligible person of the same sex and from the same senatorial district as the vacating member. The Senatorial District Committee of the affected district shall meet to nominate a person for such position. The State Chair shall mail written notice of the meeting to consider such nomination to the members of the Senatorial District Committee and, if known, the Chair of the affected district’s Senatorial District Caucus at the last State Convention, at least two weeks prior to the meeting. The Committee shall report its nominee to the SDEC. A vacancy shall be filled no later than the next meeting of the SDEC following written notice of the vacancy by at least five weeks."
What I take from this paragraph is:
  1. The majority of the SDEC has to vote for the replacement.
  2. It must be, in this case, a female who resides in SD8.
  3. The Senatorial District Committee of the affected district nominates a person for the position.
  4. Some time constraints spelled out.
That is all pretty straightforward EXCEPT for the "Senatorial District Committee". What is that? Ah, that definition can be found in TDP rules, too:
ARTICLE III: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES, SECTION F: DISTRICT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, PARAGRAPH 1 MEMBERS, SUBSECTION (c)

"For a senatorial district made up of more than one county or parts of more than one county, the District Committee’s membership shall include the County Chair of each county wholly contained within that district and one District Committee member elected from among their number by each group of Precinct Chairs within a portion of a county included in such senatorial district. The District Committee thus formed shall elect its own Chair. The District Committee member so elected by the group (or committee) of Precinct Chairs (from only part of a county included in such a multi-county district) shall be and act also as Chair of such group or committee of Precinct Chairs. (Texas Election Code §171.054)"
What I take from this paragraph is:
  1. The COUNTY CHAIRS are NOT automatically members of the "Senatorial District Committee" in certain Senatorial District mappings such as Senatorial District 8 (re: 'shall include the County Chair of each county wholly contained'.)  Neither Dallas NOR Collin counties are wholly contained in Senatorial District 8. 
  2. Each county shall elect its own "Senatorial District Committee" representative from the COUNTY PRECINCT CHAIRS who are in Senatorial District 8 of each respective county.  
  3. The Senatorial District Committee, once formed and officially notified of the SDEC vacancy by the TDP State Chair, then meets to recommend a person to the SDEC to fill the vacancy. 
SO I've asked others and I've asked party officials and I've heard nothing to disabuse me of my interpretation up to this point. As I see it, Collin precinct chairs within SD8 will elect ONE person and Dallas precinct chairs within SD8 will elect ONE person and that shall constitute the SENATE DISTRICT COMMITTEE.

Officials from the TDP have offered to help us and observe us so that things run smoothly and I've encouraged them to do so. Think about your choice! I believe that these positions and the energy someone might bring are important. DOUBLE CHECK me. I've provided a link to the rules and it's important that we understand them.


Michael Handley

Michael Handley runs the excellent Democratic Blog News. Here he is looking as dapper as ever at the SDEC meeting earlier this month.

If I looked like that I would not hear every morning, "Are you going out dressed like that?"
SHOUT OUT TO CLUBS

Now, in this interregnum, is your chance to break your habits, just a bit. Try new clubs and new events, both near you and not so near. I'm sure it would be worth it.

For example, there are several excellent Drinking Liberally Clubs near us.

Drinking Liberally Plano 
Living Liberally McKinney 
Drinking Liberally Addison 
Drinking Liberally Dallas

Subscribe to the Senate District 8 SDEC Committee-persons Newsletter


James White's SDEC page is www.facebook.com/SD8Committeeman.
James White's SDEC  twitter feed is www.twitter.com/txsdec8. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

African American Voter Turnout Likely Topped Anglo Voters

by Michael Handley

The rate of nationwide African American voter turnout remained high in 2012 and, for the first time, may have topped the rate for Anglo turnout, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

In 2008, the rate of African American voter turnout almost equaled that of Anglos, continuing a trend of a steady increase in African American turnout rates that began in 1996. This year, African American turnout seems very likely to have exceeded the Anglo level voting, partly because Anglo turnout appears to have dropped slightly.

Republicans took over swing state state legislatures as part of the 2010 mid-term tea party wave election. Those Republican-majority legislatures immediately adopted American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, model legislation designed to limit minority voter access to the polling booth by curtailing early voting days, voter registration activities and acceptable voter identification documents.

Many African American leaders said those laws would disproportionately hurt elderly, poor and minority voters and accused Republicans of running a campaign of “voter suppression.”

Republicans said those new laws were needed to combat voter fraud. In a few states, Republican legislative leaders explicitly said they hoped the measures would hurt Democratic candidates or reduce the “urban” vote.  ("Florida Republicans Admit Voter Suppression Agenda" and "The GOP’s Crime Against Voters")

Courts blocked some of those laws, and in the end Republican attempts to suppress minority voters may have backfired as African American organizations used “voter suppression” as a rallying cry to turn out the vote. The perception that Republicans were attempting to disenfranchise their vote strongly motivated many African Americans to get out the vote.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

School Choice - Privatizing Our Public Schools

by Michael Handley

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), chair of the Senate Committee on Education, chose a private Catholic school as the backdrop to explain their education voucher scheme that they plan to push through the Republican controlled 2013 Texas legislative session.

The proposed Republican legislation would create a private school scholarship fund by offering businesses franchise tax breaks credits for paying into the private school voucher program.

Commenting on the Republican plan announced by Dewhurst and Patrick, Texas Democratic Party State Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said,
"Public education is the key that unlocks the American Dream for the vast majority of our children. And anything that threatens that is beyond unacceptable.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cell Phone Only Continues To Grow

by Michael Handley

Preliminary results from the January–June 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that the number of American homes cutting their landline telephone service in favor of cellular telephone service only continues to grow.

More than one-third of American homes (35.8%) had only cellular telephone service during the first half of 2012 — an increase of 1.8 percentage points since the second half of 2011.  In addition, nearly one of every six American homes (15.9%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite also having a landline telephone.  More than half of American households (51.7%) can now be contacted only by knowing the cell phone of someone living in that household.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Florida GOP Leaders Admit Suppressing Student Vote

Raw Story - The chairman of the Alachua County Republican Party told a newspaper this week that he and another prominent Florida Republican pushed for changes to the state’s provisional balloting system in order to suppress young and poor voters, many of whom are students or rent their residence.

The Miami Herald found that the law, sponsored by State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R) and supported by Alachua County GOP chairman Stafford Jones, eliminated the ability of poll workers to quickly check a statewide database of voters registered in counties other than where they’re casting a ballot.

The end result was a 25 percent spike in the use of provisional ballots, leading to more work for elections staff and much longer lines — all of which was by design, Jones told the Herald.

The changes to Florida’s voting laws ahead of the 2012 presidential election were just one front in a national vote suppression campaign by Republicans who claimed to be concerned about supposedly rampant “voter fraud.” Studies show, however, that the type of in-person voter fraud these laws would guard against is incredibly rare, and there’s no evidence to support the conclusion that any U.S. election has been swayed by such tactics.

Raw Story (http://s.tt/1xirm)

Related:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Texas Now Serves Fewer Family Planning - Spending More On Less

In the last legislative session, Texas lawmakers cut the state's family planning budget by two-thirds, a loss of around $73.6 million over the next two years. The reason behind this, naturally, was that "family planning" is clearly a secret code word for "abortion."
"Of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything," Representative Wayne Christian told the Texas Tribune. "That's what family planning is supposed to be about."
Now, the Department of State Health Services has released new documents showing how the new, lean, highly efficient family planning budget is working for the state. Or not working. Those documents show that the program is now serving almost 128,000 fewer people, while spending more money per patient.

Jordan Smith at the Austin Chronicle was the first to lay out the new program's flaws . She points to a memo sent to the State Health Services Council by the Department of State Health Services. The memo, which we've posted below, shows that in 2012, the family planning budget served 75,160 people, at a cost of $236.54 each. Last year, before the cuts went into effect, the family planning money served 202,968 people, and cost $205.93 per patient.

In other words, the cost per patient has climbed by 15 percent, while the number of people served has nosedived by 63 percent. (A DSHS spokesperson told the Chronicle that's due to "infrastructure costs," and that the situation should "resolve itself over time.")

In the new funding structure, family planning money is going first to entities known as federally qualified healthcare centers, which are primary care community health clinics. There are 69 of them in Texas, according to DSHS, operating at around 300 sites.

But FQHCS aren't specifically set up to provide family planning services, and, as the Texas Observer points out they have struggled to cope with the influx of new patients. Outside of the new family planning money, many also continue to have serious budgetary issues of their own.

Read the the full story @ Dallas Observer

Bill Moyers Essay: Living Under The Gun

In a web-exclusive video essay, Bill Moyers says Friday's deadly shooting in Colorado is yet another tragic indication that our society -- and too many of our politicians -- covet guns more than common sense or life itself. The National Rifle Association in particular, Bill says, “has turned the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel and deadly hoax.”


Bill Moyers Essay: Living Under the Gun from BillMoyers.com 

Mental Illness And Guns

It can be argued that Pres. Reagan bears some responsibility for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, committed by a mentally ill gunman. Pres. Reagan promoted the near total collapse of publicly funded care for the mentally ill.

Government's primary responsibility is the protection of the citizens it represents through collective defense. This is true of government at every level. Government is meant to protect us from enemies that we can not possibly be expected to individually protect ourselves against. That collective defense can take the form of gun ownership regulation, at least comparable to the regulation applied to owning and operating motor vehicles.

That collective defense can also take the form of care for those in our society who are mentally ill.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

U.S. AG Says Voter Registration Should Be Automatic

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday that U.S. election officials should register eligible voters automatically and take steps to reduce the long lines Americans encountered in national elections on Nov. 6.

In a speech in Boston, Holder became the highest-ranking official to call for voting changes since President Barack Obama expressed exasperation with the hours-long lines during his re-election victory speech last night.
“Modern technology provides ways to address many of the problems that impede the efficient administration of elections,” Holder said.
Registering to vote is a necessary step to be eligible to cast a ballot in almost every U.S. state, and some jurisdictions require the paperwork weeks before Election Day.  The United States has a patchwork election system, relying on local officials in 3,141 counties across the 50 states and the District of Columbia to the define laws and manage the bureaucratic process used to register voters.   This does not include U.S. Commonwealths and territories with what are generally county equivalents.

Holder said the current system was needlessly complex and riddled with mistakes, resulting in 60 million adult U.S. citizens not being eligible to cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential election because they had not filed the right paperwork.  

In Texas, voters must be registered to vote 30 days before election day, and re-register when they move.  All the registration paperwork is handled at both the county and state levels, and sometimes across Texas' Secretary of  State and Department of Motor Vehicles (DPS) state agencies.

Because of the  Broken (DPS) Texas Motor Voter Registration Process many people who thought they re-registered when they change their driver's license after moving from one Texas county to another found they were not properly re-registered by their visit to the DPS office or website. These voters thought they had filed the right voter registration paperwork, but one of the state agencies seemingly mishandled or lost it. These harried voters were forced to travel to their county's main election office to vote a limited ballot during early voting or vote a provisional ballot at their polling location on election day, and many of those provisional ballots were likely not accepted for counting.

The safeguards are in place to prevent a problem that rarely, if ever occurs, largely because few people are willing to risk felony charges to influence an election, Holder said.
“You can’t get groups of sufficient numbers of people that are willing to face that possibility and try to influence an election, which is why in-person voter fraud simply doesn’t exist to the extent that some on the right have said that it does,” Holder told a crowd of several hundred at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

By coordinating existing databases, the government could register “every eligible voter in America” and ensure that registration does not lapse after moving to a new home, Holder said.

Holder, also recommended that polling places should have an adequate number of voting machines and be open for additional days — a challenge because thousands of local officials make those decisions independently.  Holder also suggested that Election Day should be moved to a weekend.
“We should rethink this whole notion that voting only occurs on Tuesday, which is an agricultural notion from way back,” Holder said. “Why not have voting on weekends?”

An overhaul would likely require approval from Congress, a significant obstacle because of the view by many Republicans that easing registration requirements could increase voter fraud. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on “the state of the right to vote” on Dec. 19.

Full text of Holder’s remarks.

Search For Muslim Bias In Texas Schools, Finds Only Christian Bias


Think Progress: A bizarre chain email sent to district and school board officials in the Dallas area this October titled “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM” inspired a recent investigation of “Islamic bias” in the district’s curriculum. Only Christian bias found.

Despite the outlandish claims, the district requested that an official from the organization that created the curriculum to respond. The results of a 72-page investigation done by the organization were not surprising: there’s a Christian bias in schools, not a Muslim one.

The official told the board that a bias toward Islam didn’t exist, even mentioning that “she hired a ‘very socially and fiscally conservative’ former social studies teacher who ‘watches Glenn Beck on a regular basis’ to seek out any Islamic bias in CSCOPE [the curriculum].” She “asked her to look for anything she would consider the least bit controversial.”

The Dallas Morning News has the details of an investigation that mentioned “every religious reference in the CSCOPE curriculum, from kindergarten to high school”:
  • Christianity got twice as much attention in the curriculum as any other religion. Islam was a distant second.
  • The Red Crescent and Boston Tea Party reference mentioned in the email were nowhere in CSCOPE’s curriculum, although they may have been in the past.
  • If there was any Islamic bias in CSCOPE it was “bias against radical Islam.”
This isn’t the first time Texas has debated the perceived presence of too much Islam in its school books. In 2010, the Texas Board of Education banned any books that “paint Islam in too favorable of a light.”  The reasoning was head-scratching: “the resolution adopted Friday cites ‘politically-correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization’ in current textbooks and warns that ‘more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the US public school textbook oligopoly.’”

A Texas based civil liberties advocate said at the time that “the members who voted for this resolution were solely interested in playing on fear and bigotry in order to pit Christians against Muslims.”

Full story @ Think Progress

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tax The Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale

Tax the Rich: An animated fairy tale, is narrated by Ed Asner, with animation by Mike Konopacki. Written and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. An 8 minute video about how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality. Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don't want to pay taxes anymore. They tell the people that there is no alternative, but the people aren't so sure. This land bears a startling resemblance to our land.


Hat tip to my friend D Karen Wilkerson.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

President Obama's #My2k Twitter Live Chat

Behind the scenes look at President Obama on a Twitter (#My2k) live chat from the Roosevelt room of the White House. President Obama connected directly with Americans via Twitter on Monday, where he answered questions about extending middle class tax cuts.

During the live Twitter Q&A, the President addressed the need for a balanced approach to reduce the deficit, the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations, and even weighed in with his predictions for Chicago sports teams from the White House Twitter account. During the conversation, the hashtag #My2k was used more than 31,000 times and trended nationally on Twitter throughout the chat.



More:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Guiding Principles On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations With Republicans

Author, Berkeley professor, and Clinton-era Secretary of Labor Robert Reich lays out the what, why and how of the Fiscal "Cliff", the showdown in Congress that Republicans created to demand painful cuts in vital domestic programs in exchange for raising taxes on the top 2%. Guiding Principles On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations With Republicans

Friday, November 30, 2012

Did Romney Pollsters Not Understand Cell Phone Only Demographics

by Michael Handley  (Updated Sat., Dec. 1, 2012 @ 9:38 a.m.)

The Romney campaign and GOP politicos, like Carl Rove, absolutely believed Romney was headed for victory on Election Day. Did Romney's polls skew toward the right by as much as an eight point spread because his internal pollsters fell into the wireless (cell phone) only polling gap trap?

A few journalists have reported that team Romney’s internal polling showed him comfortably moving into the lead in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and a few other swing states.  Add in Ohio, where Romney's internal polling had him in a statistical tie with Obama, and team Romney thought they were on track to lock in enough electoral votes to win the White House.  GOP confidence in these numbers was such that Romney decided to not prepare a concession speech in advance.

An article by Noam Scheiber published today in The New Republic provides some details about the Romney Campaign's internal polling snafu.
The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He'd Win

...In an exclusive to The New Republic, a Romney aide has provided the campaign’s final internal polling numbers for six key states, along with additional breakdowns of the data, which the aide obtained from the campaign’s chief pollster, Neil Newhouse.  Newhouse himself then discussed the numbers with TNR.

...Newhouse and some of his colleagues have said that the biggest flaw in their polling was the failure to predict the demographic composition of the electorate. Broadly speaking, the people who showed up to vote on November 6 were younger and less white than Team Romney anticipated, and far more Democratic as a result. "The Colorado Latino vote was extraordinarily challenging," Newhouse told me. "As it was in Florida.

...One Romney aide told me that he ran into Tagg Romney, the candidate’s eldest son, as the results came in on election night. “He looked like he was in a complete state of shock,” the aide said. “[As if] these numbers cannot be real.”

Read the full story @ The New Republic.
We know polls that included properly weighted cell phone only voters gave Obama the lead in all battle ground states through the summer and fall.  In late September Nate Silver wrote that Obama has shown a clear lead in the 16 cell phone-inclusive polls of seven top battleground states taken since the convention. A national survey conducted by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, in mid September, which include properly weighted cell phone only respondents, found that Obama had an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters.  

The cell phone only trend is increasingly problematic for pollsters for several reasons.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Political Engagement In The Digital Age

Pew Research Center: The growth of social media and the rapid adoption of smartphones have changed the way Americans engage in politics. Here is a summary of Pew's 2012 findings.

Background and details @ ePolitics

Monday, November 26, 2012

Florida Republicans Admit Voter Suppression Agenda

Florida’s former Republican Party chairman, Jim Greer, claims Republicans have made a systemic effort to suppress the Democratic vote. Greer served as Florida's GOP chairman from 2006 until 2010 when he was forced to resign after allegedly stealing $200,000 from the party. He was arrested and his case is pending trial in February.

In a 630-page deposition, related to his corruption case, recorded over two days in late May, Greer unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

In the deposition, released to the press last July and reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said.

Repeating his allegations of voter suppression, Greer last week told the Palm Beach Post, “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,”  “It’s done for one reason and one reason only...‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.’"

"When those consultants and legislative leaders approached me about putting forth election changes to the law that would benefit the Republican Party, I didn't agree to it," Florida 10-News reported.

But in 2010 with Charlie Crist out and Governor Rick Scott in as Governor, Greer says the voter suppression effort had support at the top.

Florida's HB 1355 bill, which was passed by Florida's Republican dominated legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November 2011, reduced the number of early voting days from 14 down to eight. Republicans promoted the legislation as a measure to reduce rampant voter fraud, but Greer says the voter fraud argument was simply a "marketing ploy. Despite lines during early voting and lines as long as nine hours on Election Day 2012 in Florida, Scott said he stands by the new law.  "Well I'm very comfortable that the right thing happened," he told WKMG Orlando after the election.

Former Governor Charlie Crist and a GOP consultant have also been quoted as part of a growing chorus accusing Republicans of intentionally trying to keep Democrats from the polls.  Gov. Scott's immediate predecessor, the formerly Republican Charlie Crist,says he frustrated Republican legislative efforts to shorten the state's early voting period while he held the governor's office, citing reasons that mesh with Greer's claims.  In an interview with The Huffington Post, Crist said HB 1355 was clearly aimed at curbing turnout among Democrats.
"The only thing that makes any sense as to why this is happening and being done is voter suppression," he said, "People have fought and died for our right to vote, and unfortunately our legislature and this governor have decided they want to make early voting less available to Floridians rather than more available ... It's hard for me as an American to comprehend why you don't make democracy as easy as possible to exercise for the people of our state. It's frankly unconscionable."
Greer acknowledged that the effort to restrict early voting would directly affect turnout among Florida's African Americans, a demographic that consistently supports Democrats. There is "absolutely nothing" state Republicans wouldn't do in their "absolute obsession with retaining power," he told the Post.

Related:

Has The GOP Lost A Generation Of Voters?

Barack Obama won 60% of the vote among those younger than 30, down from 66% in 2008, says a Pew Research Center survey of the 2012 youth vote.  Nationwide, Obama received a blowout 66% of the national vote among the 18-29 year old age group in 2008 compared to McCain's 33% of that vote. Obama also won the 2008 youth vote in many Republican states like Texas, where he won 54% of the vote. Young voters also gave 63% of the vote to House Democrats in 2008 -- Young voters not only voted for Obama at the top of the ballot, they also voted down ballot or straight ticket by a high margin for other Democratic candidates.

The divide between young voters and older voters was as stark this year as it was in 2008. While Obama lost ground among voters younger than 30, he still won this age group by 24 points over Mitt Romney (60% to 36%). He also maintained a slimmer advantage among voters 30 to 44 (52% Obama, 45% Romney), while losing ground among those 45 to 64 and those 65 and older.

Among all voters 30 and older, Obama ran behind Mitt Romney (48% for Obama, 50% for Romney). Four years ago, Obama edged John McCain, 50% to 49%, among all 30+ voters.

In Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania, Obama also failed to win a majority of voters 30 and older. Yet he swept all four battleground states, in part because he won majorities of 60% or more among young voters.

Just as critically, young people made up as large a share of the overall electorate as they did in 2008, according to the national exit poll (19% in 2012, 18% in 2008). As recently as September, young voters were significantly less engaged in the campaign than they had been four years earlier. But their interest and engagement levels increased in the campaign’s final weeks. In the Pew Research Center’s final pre-election survey, as many registered voters under 30 said they were giving a lot of thought to the election as did so in the last weekend of the 2008 race.

Young voters continue to identify with the Democratic Party at relatively high levels and express more liberal attitudes on a range of issues – from gay marriage to the role of the federal government – than do older voters. In fact, voters under 30 were as likely to identify as Democrats in the 2012 exit poll as they had been in 2008 (44% now, 45% then). And they are the only age group in which a majority said that the government should do more to solve problems.

His losses among young voters since 2008 might have been even greater, but for the fact that the under 30s are by far the most racially and ethnically diverse age group. Just 58% are white non-Hispanic, compared with 76% of voters older than 30. A recent report by Pew Social and Demographic Trends found that minorities are on track to become a majority of the overall population by 2050.

The racial and ethnic composition of young voters has shifted dramatically over the last four presidential elections. Just 58% of voters age 18-29 identified as white non-Hispanics, while 18% were Hispanic, 17% were African American and 7% identified as mixed-race or some other race. The share of young voters who are white has declined 16 points since 2000, when 74% of voters under 30 identified as white and 26% identified as nonwhite (including 12% who were African American and 10% Hispanic).

This stands in sharp contrast to older voters. Fully 76% of voters 30 and older were white, down only six points from 2000. Only 24% of voters 30 and older were nonwhite, including 12% who identified as black and 8% as Hispanic.

Read the full survey report @ Pew Research Center.

Related: The Millennial Generation: Our Liberal Future

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Collin Co Election Results

by Michael Handley

Like much of the rest of Texas, 2012 Collin County election results drifted to the right.  On measures of both candidate and party, Collin County voted less Democratic and more Republican in 2012 than in 2008.

Obama's performance in Collin County declined on both raw vote count and vote spread and Romney's performance improved over McCain's 2008 vote count and percentage wins.

This table represents early results and does not include
the number of provisional ballots accepted for counting
or final number of mail ballots returned. 3,565
provisional ballots were cast. Final numbers will be
reported in December.
While straight party voting increased for both parties in 2012 over 2008, Republican straight party voting increased much more than Democratic party voting. 4,176 more Democrats and 20,199 more Republicans voted straight party in 2012 over 2008.

Comparing ballots cast as a percentage of registered voters, 2012 turnout lags behind 2008 turnout in Collin County, as it also does in eleven other of Texas' fifteen largest counties.

According to Texas DSHS Center for Health Statistics population estimates the Collin County population base has expanded over the last four years.

While the population has grown, the percentage of voting age persons (VAP) who registered to vote for the presidential election has fallen from 2008 levels.

Does this mean these Texans were less motivated to vote in 2012 than in 2008?

It seems apparent from the county and top line turnout numbers that Texas Democrats, including those who live in Collin County were less motivated to vote in 2012 than in 2008.

Cell Phone Only Voters Making GOTV Phone Banks Obsolete

In the final weeks before Election Day, a scary statistic emerged from the databases at Barack Obama’s Chicago headquarters: more than half the campaign’s targeted swing-state voters under age 29 had no listed phone number. They have adopted a wireless cell phone only lifestyle, effectively immune to the obsolete 20th century "voice phone bank canvassing" get-out-the-vote efforts.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Collin Co. Election Day Vote Center Follow Up

by Michael Handley

Collin County had countywide "Voting Center" polling locations on Election Day, November 6th, 2012.  Election Day Vote Centers worked like Early Voting polling locations where voters living anywhere in Collin County could vote at any of the 67 Voting Centers open around the county on Election Day.

This is a follow up to our November 5th article, Collin Co. Election Day Vote "Anywhere" Centers.  A few locations had wait lines during the day and through out the entire day.  Plano's Carpenter Park Recreation Center location opened with approximately 150 people already waiting in line. The last person to join that line at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, as the Judge called "the polls are open," waited about 70 minutes to vote.  The Carpenter Park Recreation Center wait line ranged from over 70 minutes to about 40 minutes through out the day. About 140 people were waiting in line at that location at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, when the Judge called "the polls are closed." The last person in that closing line voted at 7:50 p.m.

Posted below the "Read more »" jump are the Vote Center ePollBook voter check-in counts. This count does not include manually processed provisional ballots or voters who surrendered their vote by mail ballot to the Election Judges, so they could cast an in-person ballot.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Observer: Texas Democrats, Make Your Move

From The Texas Observer ~ by Eileen Smith

Yes, there have been isolated [Texas Democratic] victories in the form of really good candidates — San Antonio Mayor JuliĆ”n Castro, his brother Joaquin, the newly elected congressman, and Congressman-elect Pete Gallego who unseated Francesco “Quico” Canseco.  But relying on the random strong candidate instead of building a solid state party infrastructure is like playing the political lottery. You’re just wasting your time and money fantasizing about hitting the jackpot in the form of yet another rising star.

So forget about the great GOP awakening. Now is the perfect time for Texas Democrats to figure out what the hell they’re doing. The default explanation for their dismal showing was that Texas is not just red but bloody red, a stronghold of the Republican Party and ruled with an iron fist by Pharaoh, forcing the Chosen Ones to wander aimlessly in the desert looking for manna from heaven. But now the shifting demographics coupled with a rather clueless opposition party should be working in their favor. In the meantime the only thing Democrats here seem to do is nominate bumbling statewide candidates who can’t do much better than 40 percent. Is that any way to boost morale in a defeatist party so used to losing it’s forgotten how to win?

Read the full article @ The Texas Observer.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hundreds Of Motor Voters Forced To Cast Provisional Ballots

by Michael Handley

After working the 12 days of early voting as an Election Judge at one of Collin County's busier polling centers, I wrote an article, Broken Texas Motor Voter Registration Process:
Every day during early voting, several people who tried to check-in to vote at my polling location were not listed on the Collin County poll list. The first question I asked these would-be voters was, "when did you register to vote in Collin County?"  The answer most often given by the would-be voters was, "when I changed the address on my driver's license at the DPS (or on the DPS website) after I moved to Collin County," from another Texas county.  A quick voter registration look up on the Texas Secretary of State's "Am I Registered to Vote" web page often found these new, and some not so new, Collin County residents remained registered in the county of their former residence.
The lucky voters who remained registered in their former county of residence got to listen to my short, "you can vote a limited ballot," speech...

The small number of less lucky Collin County voters, who were not registered in any Texas county, got to listen to my short "provisional ballot" speech and proceed through the provisional ballot process...
The broken Texas Motor Voter Registration process has been a top problem for voters and polling place officials for many years...

Hispanic Electorate To Double

Latinos who cast ballots for president this year are the leading edge of an ascendant ethnic voting bloc that is likely to double in size within a generation, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Election Day exit polls and a new nationwide survey of Hispanic immigrants.

According to Pew Hispanic Center projections, Hispanics will account for 40% of the growth in the eligible electorate in the U.S. between now and 2030, at which time 40 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote, up from 23.7 million now.

The nation’s 53 million Hispanics comprise 17% of the total U.S. population but just 10% of all voters this year, according to the national exit poll.

To borrow a boxing metaphor, they still “punch below their weight.”

However, their share of the electorate will rise quickly for several reasons. The most important is that Hispanics are by far the nation’s youngest ethnic group.

Their median age is 27 years—and just 18 years among native-born Hispanics—compared with 42 years for that of white non-Hispanics. In the coming decades, their share of the age-eligible electorate will rise markedly through generational replacement alone.

Moreover, if Hispanics’ relatively low voter participation rates and naturalization rates were to increase to the levels of other groups, the number of votes that Hispanics actually cast in future elections could double within two decades.

Read the full report @  Pew Hispanic Center.

State and District 2012 Texas Election Summary

 by Michael Handley

Down ballot results for statewide and district Democratic candidates follows top of the ballot presidential voting patterns.
U.S. Senate Results by County
Senate Democratic candidate Paul Sadler became the latest Democrat seeking that office to fall far from the 50 percent mark, receiving just 40.5 percent of the vote.

Sadler, a former Texas House member with solid credentials, was no match against the tea party-backed candidate, Ted Cruz, who won with 56.6 percent of the vote.  Cruz got strong support in Tarrant County, winning 57 percent of the vote.

Similarly, Democrat Keith Hampton captured just over 40 percent of the vote in his loss to Republican Sharon Keller for a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals post.  Democrat Michele Petty pulled 42 percent of the vote in her loss to Nathan Hecht for Justice, Texas Supreme Court. Democrat Dale Henry got 40 percent of the vote to Christi Craddick's 56 percent for Railroad Commissioner.

The few brighter spots, including one bittersweet spot, of news for Texas Democrats comes from the Texas Senate and House results.  Senator Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, won re-election to his Texas state Senate seat last Tuesday, three weeks after his death. Sen. Gallegos died on October 16 of complications related to liver disease. Gallegos, who had served since 1994, overwhelmingly beat his challenger, Republican newcomer, R.W. Bray.

Changes For SDEC Committeewoman Linda Magid

Dear Friends:

As we experience and express our joy and gratitude that President Obama was reelected, I must share some disappointing news. My husband accepted a job in San Antonio and we are moving at the end of December. It was a very difficult decision to make in part because I will have to resign from my position as your SDEC representative, but ultimately it is the right one for our family.
Linda Magid with Sen. Wendy Davis at
the 2012 State Democratic Convention
You know how much I love being on the SDEC and helping you make Texas a Democratic state again. It has been my honor to serve as your representative and to bring my abilities and skills to the Texas Democratic Party. I intend to work with the TDP in finding a new place for me where I can continue to make a difference.

Soon SD8 will elect my replacement and I trust you to choose someone with the same commitment that I have to representing all of SD8 and to give you what you need to win. As well, you have a champion in SD 8 Committeeman James White who continues to find new ways to grow the Party locally and work with you all toward Democratic success.

Thank you for trusting me to represent you. I wish you all of the best.

Sincerely,
Linda

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Slicing And Dicing The Topline 2012 Texas Election Numbers

by Michael Handley

Republicans have held every statewide office for 14 years, the Legislature for 12 years and every state board and agency for 14 years – with GOP appointees overseeing everything from education to health to the environment.

Texans have voted for Republicans for president in each of the past nine general elections.   Not since 1976 has Texas gone blue in a presidential election year.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Social Media Predicted 2012 Election Results

PRWEB ~ November 09, 2012

The 2012 presidential election results are in, and it is evident that social media played a larger role than ever in the outcome. President Obama dominated the social media battle, and ended up winning the presidency. Despite pollsters claiming a ‘tight’ race in the final days before the election, social media statistics told another story. This divergence raises an important question; Can social media predict election results?

Social media allows people to ‘connect’ with a candidate in a tangible way by providing an open channel of communication. This is a valuable tool for a campaign, as it gives people who are interested in a candidate a way to become engaged and contribute, which is a reality that internet marketers have known for some time.

Predicting Presidential Election Results

Monday, November 5, 2012

Collin Co. Election Day Vote "Anywhere" Centers

by Michael Handley

Collin County will again have countywide "Voting Center" polling locations on Election Day, November 6th, 2012. Election Day Vote Centers work like Early Voting polling locations where voters living anywhere in Collin County may vote at any of the 67 Voting Centers that will be open around the county on Election Day

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Early Voting 2012 Wrap

by Michael Handley

Comparing early ballots cast as a percentage of registered voters, 2012 turnout lags 2008 turnout in Collin County and ten of Texas' fifteen largest counties. This means that either voters are less motivated in 2012 than in 2008 or more people are just waiting to vote on Election Day.   

Early voting polls closed at 7 p.m. Friday, but many polling places in Collin Co. and around Texas still had people waiting in line to vote at that hour.  The last person in line at 7 p.m. at some polling locations in Collin Co. had to wait over 45 minutes to cast their ballot Friday evening.

The number of Collin Co. ballots cast on Friday was a record 30,908, an increase of 5,667 ballots cast over the 2008 final Friday early voting count.  Some increase in the number of ballots cast in 2008 is expected for this 2012 election, considering the rapid pace of Collin Co. population growth.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Broken Texas Motor Voter Registration Process

by Michael Handley

I haven't been publishing articles over the last twelve days because I've been working at one of the busiest Collin County Early Voting polling locations as an Alternate Election Judge.

The Texas Motor Voter Registration process remains broken.  The most common voter problem Early Voting Election Judges, Alternate Judges and Clerks across Texas handled again this year was the failure of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to register some people to vote when they obtained, updated or renewed their driver's license.  In 2012, over a third of all new Texas voters registered to vote through the DPS.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Early Voting In Collin Co.

by Michael Handley

Through the first Thursday of early voting, Texas' 15 largest counties reported nearly 1.18 million in-person and mail ballots had been cast, a 6.8 percent increase over the same period in 2008.

Early voting continues to be brisk in Collin County. The number of ballots cast through Friday is running 10.4 percent ahead of the first six days of 2008 early voting.

While that 10.4 percent numerical increase seems impressive, the enthusiasm of 2012 early voters is not necessarily higher than in 2008. In fact, a case can be made that enthusiasm is down. Take into account that with the county's rapid population growth, the number of people living in Collin Co. has increased from an estimated Voting Age Population (VAP) of 547,209 in 2008  to  667,776 potential voters in 2012.

The table at right projects possible 2012 turnout final numbers for Collin Co. by applying 2008 turnout patterns to current population estimates (Texas DSHS Center for Health Statistics) and voter registration numbers. Approximately 72 percent of population are voting age persons.

In 2008, 77.8 percent (425,994) of the VAP was registered to vote, but only 68.7 percent (458,872) of the Collin Co. VAP is registered for the 2012 general election.

This decrease in the percentage of eligible voters interested in registering to vote certainly suggests a drop in voter enthusiasm from 2008 to 2012. Are those less interested potential voters Republicans, Democrats or a little of both?

To keep things in perspective, 22.5 percent of registered Collin Co. voters turned out to vote during the first six days of 2008 early voting, while the comparable 2012 accumulated turnout of registered voters is only 23.1 percent.

Comparing the 2008 to 2012 daily percentage of registered Collin Co. voters going to polling places also shows little change in voter enthusiasm. 

The impressive numerical turnout increase over 2008 for 2012 days one and two followed by significantly less impressive days three, four, five and six of Collin Co. early voting suggests that perhaps some of the early vote may have simply shifted to the early days of early voting.

Collin Co.Daily
Percentage of
Registered Voters
Voting
A Gallup poll out Friday shows the make up of the electorate nationally also remains virtually unchanged since the 2008 election. The survey of likely voters shows nonwhites, blacks and Hispanics sharing roughly the same share of the electorate they did in 2008.

According to Gallup's year by year analysis, blacks account for 11 percent of voters this year when in 2008, they made up 12 percent of the electorate. And Gallup predicts Hispanics grew to be 7 percent of the electorate, a one point increase since 2008.

"Key elements of President Barack Obama's electoral coalitions, such as racial minorities, women, young adults and postgraduates will likely turn out at rates similar to those in 2008," the survey says.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DBN Endorses Jack Ternan For Texas Senate District 8

by Michael Handley, Democratic Blog News Managing Editor

Jack Ternan's campaign for Texas Senate District 8 last week released two campaign videos. Jack G. B. Ternan, Jr. is the Democratic candidate for Texas State Senate, District 8.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Early Voting In Collin Co. Starts Brisk

At the end of the first days of 2012 early voting in Collin County, the vote count was running well ahead of 2008 early voting. This year, 16,531 people voted in-person on day one, 18,063 people voted on day two and 16,673 people voted on day three  of early voting.  Plus, 4,997 vote by mail ballots had been returned to the Collin County Early Voting Clerk by the second day of early voting.

In 2008, 13,900 people voted on the first day, 15,356 people voted on day two and 15,563 people voted on day three of early voting in Collin Co.
Collin Co. November General Election
Election Year 2008 2012
Total Population 760,013 927,466
Registered Voters  425,994 460,000
Voting Age Population (VAP) 547,209 667,776
Percentage of VAP Registered 77.8% 68.9%
Total Turnout 298,647 317,400
Early Turnout In-Person 211,637 225,037
Percent Early 70.9% 70.9%
Election Day Turnout In-Person 75,009 79,350
Percent Election Day 25.1% 25.0%
Vote By Mail Turnout 11,834 12,696
Percent VBM 4.0% 4.0%
Percent of Turnout to Registered 70.1% 69.0%
Percent of Turnout to VAP 54.6% 47.5%

According to Texas DSHS Center for Health Statistics population estimates, Collin Co. has grown to 927,466 residents during 2012, with approximately 72 percent of that number representing voting age persons.

The table at right projects possible 2012 turnout numbers for Collin Co. by applying 2008 turnout patterns to current population estimates and voter registration numbers.

Turnout across the rest of North Texas is also strong. More than 70,000 voters cast ballots Monday in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton Counties. Texas turned out in high numbers across the state on the first day of early voting, too, setting records in some places.

The Texas Secretary of State reported Tuesday that more than 378,000 people cast early ballots Monday in the state's 15 most populous counties, either by mail or in person. That's about 4.6 percent of the registered voters in those counties. More than 32,000 people cast early ballots in Dallas County and another 30,000 ballots were cast in Tarrant County. In Denton County, 12,000 people turned out to vote early.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

GO VOTE!

Early voting for the November 6, 2012 General Election starts Monday October 22, 2012. November 6, 2012 General Election Information:

Presidential Debate Watch: Get Fired Up And Ready To Vote

We invite you to get "fired up and ready to go" for the rest of the campaign Monday evening, October 22nd by attending a Debate Watch at Rugby House Pub, in north west Plano ~ 8604 Preston Rd., Suite 100, Plano, Tx 75024. (map)

Come watch the October 22nd debate between Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama with your Democratic friends and neighbors. The debate telecast starts a 8:00 pm, but you are welcome to come early to order drinks and food and chat with your friends and neighbors.

This 90-minute debate, moderated by CBS' Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, telecast from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, will be broken up into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes, each on Foreign Policy.


The Texas Democratic Women of Collin County, Democratic Network, Democratic Blog News, Plano Drinking Liberally and a local OFA group are co-sponsors of this debate watch event at Rugby House Pub media room. 

State Education Budget Cuts Hit Collin Co. Schools

Of the $5.4 billion cut from public education, the school districts in Texas Senate District 8 suffered an estimated loss of $119.2 million in 2013, according to the Legislative Budget Board. Plano, Frisco and Richardson ISDs were dealt the lion's share, losing $35.1 million, $26.9 million and $20.9 million respectively.

"The millions of dollars that were cut from schools in District 8 have had a direct impact in the classrooms," Democratic candidate for Texas Senate District 8 Jack Ternan said. "Our elementary schools sent more than 400 class size waiver requests to the Texas Education Agency, and 289 of those waivers came from Richardson ISD alone."

"Voting to cut funds from public education like Rep. Paxton did is irresponsible," Ternan said. "Education is the backbone in our community. It must be supported if we want our kids to succeed in the future."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

DMN Endorses Paul Sadler for U.S. Senate

Dallas Morning News Editorial Board Endorses Paul Sadler for U.S. Senate

Texans face a decision in this election that has come before them only twice over the last four decades: How to fill a Senate seat that has carried with it a proud lineage of service to the state and nation.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is stepping down after almost 20 years in Washington, where she made it a top priority to look out for Texans’ national, state and even personal needs. She first won her post in 1993, succeeding Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, who served for 22 years. Like Hutchison, he provided consistent constituent aid as well as leadership on national and state matters.

The committed work of these two bipartisan leaders to their state creates an impressive, demanding legacy for their successor. Recommending the right candidate to follow in the Hutchison-Bentsen tradition is a responsibility this newspaper takes seriously. That’s why we’ve interviewed both candidates multiple times, examined their public careers, reviewed their answers to our questionnaire, spoken with others who know them well and followed their activities on the campaign trail.

After that thorough examination, we believe Democrat Paul Sadler, 57, is the best person to uphold this legacy of service to Texas and to keep our state relevant where it matters most.

Read the full endorsement editorial @ The Dallas Morning News.


Ted Cruz would eliminate the Department of Education,
cutting billions more from Texas' education budget.



Paul Sadler speaks to Texans in Houston, TX

Record Voter Registrations in Collin Co.

by Michael Handley

New voter registration applications postmarked by Tuesday October 9th that had been processed through Wednesday pushed Collin County to a record 458,161 registered voters. When the last registration application for this election has been processed, the number of registered Collin County voters will likely top 460K. That is a significant increase over the 438,206 voters registered for the July 31, 2012 runoff election and the 425K registered voters for the 2008 general election.

As another indication that Collin Co voter interest in the 2012 election may be as strong as in 2008, the Collin County Elections Clerk has already processed over 9,000 vote by mail applications and received back over 3,000 vote by mail ballot envelopes.  In 2008, 11,834 vote by mail ballots were returned to the County Elections Clerk.

Texas November 2008 
General Election
Registered Voters  13,575,062 
Voting Age Population (VAP) 17,735,442 
Percentage of VAP Registered 76.5%
Turnout 8,077,795 
Percent of Turnout to Registered 59.5%
Percent of Turnout to VAP 45.5%
Earlier this week, Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced that Texas reached a record number of registered voters.  As of Monday, October 15, there were 13,594,264 voters registered across Texas' 254 counties, which is 71 percent of the estimated 19,194,381 voting age Texans.

The previous record number of registered voters was 13,575,062, set for the November 2008 General Election.  Despite the surge in registrations back in 2008, only 59.5 percent of registered Texas voters actually cast a ballot that November.  Texas is at the bottom of the list of all states for the percentage of voting age persons who register to vote and then actually turns out to vote.

Due to the volume of voter registration applications submitted just prior to the registration deadline, many local county election officials are still processing applications. October 9th was the last day to drop a voter registration application in a mailbox in order to be registered to vote in the November 6, 2012 General Election.

It is anyone's guess how many Texans will turn out to vote for this election. One safe guess is that at least two thirds of the Texas ballots will be cast during early voting.  Texas was a pioneer in early voting.  In 1987, the Texas legislature passed legislation calling for early no-excuse absentee voting.  That legislation created the opportunity for Texans to vote in person at the county election office in each of Texas' 254 counties.

In 1991, the early voting law was amended to require a minimum number of early voting locations in each county.    Originally, the early voting period began twenty days prior to the election and ended four days prior to the election, providing seventeen days of early voting. Amendments have set the early voting to either twelve days for general elections and primary elections or nine days for elections held on the May uniform election date.

Since its inception in 1988, the percentage of the vote that is cast early has increased significantly. From 1988 to 1992, the percentage of the early vote increased from slightly more than 20 percent to approximately 33 percent.

The graph  traces the rise of early voting since 1994, surpassing 50 percent in 2004 and climbing to two-thirds of the vote in 2008.

In 2008, 66.5 percent of statewide Texas ballots and 70.1 percent of Collin County ballots were cast during in-person early voting.

The fast start to 2012 early voting, in states where early voting has already started, suggests that overall turnout this year, both early and on Election Day, will not be substantially lower than 2008.

Early voting, so far, is on pace to exceed 2008 levels, when 30.6 percent of all votes nationally were cast prior to Election Day.  Early voting has been particularly brisk this year in Iowa and Ohio, where early voting numbers are running well above their comparable 2008 levels. Nationally, more than 3,344,856 people have already voted in the 2012 general election where early in-person and absentee mail voting is underway.

Early voting in Texas begins at 8:00 am Monday, October 22nd and runs through 7:00 pm Friday, November 2nd. (Texas polling places and times at VoteTexas.gov and for Collin Co. at CollinCountyTx.gov)

Turnout across Texas' 254 counties in 2012 could look similar to the 2008 county-by-county turnout when Obama received 43.6 percent of the statewide vote to McCain's 55.4 percent.  Obama won 28 counties and won 54 percent of the statewide vote from voters ages 18-29, McCain won the rest of Texas. 

In the last three Texas general elections, nine counties have made up between 51-54% of the total vote: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, Collin, Denton, Fort Bend and El Paso.  In 2004, these counties represented 52.93% of the total vote and in 2008, they represented 54.32% of the total vote.  In 2006 and 2008, Democrats won straight ticket voting in six (Harris, Dallas, Bexar, Travis, Fort Bend and El Paso) of the nine counties, but won only two counties in the top nine (Dallas and Travis) in 2010.

In the 2008 general election, 170,076 Collin Co. voters cast a straight party ballot with 66.2 percent of that number (112,595) voting straight Republican to 33.2 percent (56,593) voting straight Democratic Party. The remaining 128,571 voters marked each ballot position individually. McCain won Collin Co. with 184,897 (62%) votes to Obama's 109,047 (37%) votes.

Collin Co. November General Election
Election Year 2008 2012
Total Population 760,013 927,466
Registered Voters  425,994 460,000
Voting Age Population (VAP) 547,209 667,776
Percentage of VAP Registered 77.8% 68.9%
Total Turnout 298,647 317,400
Early Turnout In-Person 211,637 225,037
Percent Early 70.9% 70.9%
Election Day Turnout In-Person 75,009 79,350
Percent Election Day 25.1% 25.0%
Vote By Mail Turnout 11,834 12,696
Percent VBM 4.0% 4.0%
Percent of Turnout to Registered 70.1% 69.0%
Percent of Turnout to VAP 54.6% 47.5%
 In the 2010 general election, Collin Co. Republicans won 72.9 percent of the the straight ticket vote. In contrast, 60 percent of the 2008 straight ticket vote and 53 percent of the 2010 straight ticket vote in Dallas Co. was for the Democratic Party.  Democrats swept Dallas Co. in 2008 and hung on to those wins in the 2010 General Election.

While population is decreasing in some Texas counties, other counties continue their strong population growth.  According to Texas DSHS Center for Health Statistics population estimates, Collin Co. has grown to 927,466 residents during 2012, with approximately 72 percent of that number representing voting age persons.

The table at right projects possible 2012 turnout numbers for Collin Co. by applying 2008 turnout patterns to current population estimates and voter registration numbers.