Tuesday, October 13, 2020

3 Million New Texas Voters Since 2016

While limiting voting using drop boxes is certainly good news for Republicans, because many more Democrats than Republicans are expected to use that voting option, not all Texas news is good for the GOP. Since 2016, 3 million voters have registered in Texas. That means that about 1 in 5 (20%) of all current Texas voters were not registered in 2016.

Texas voters aren't required to designate a party when registering. Nevertheless, about 70 percent of the new voters fit the profile of those who support left-leaning policies. In 2016, Donald Trump carried Texas by 807,000 votes. However, in 2018, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won re-election over Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke by only 215,000 votes.

While most of the attention in Texas goes to the presidential race and some to Texas' other U.S. Senate race on the ballot this year, there are also half a dozen U.S. House seats the Democrats have targeted to flip. That's where most of those new voters now reside. Another place where the new voters could matter is in the Texas State House of Representatives, where Republicans have 83 seats to the Democrats' 67. 

If the Democrats can flip nine seats, they will take control of the lower chamber and will be able to undo two decades of Republican gerrymandering of Texas' expected 40 post-census congressional districts. Currently there are 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats from Texas in the U.S. House, but that would likely change if Democrats control the state House with Republicans losing control of half a dozen or more House seats in 2022.

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