FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Early voters in Tarrant County are turning out at a record pace for a spring local election, drawn by a collection of big races and after a year that has drawn more attention to local government decisions.
During the first four days of early voting, 28,670 voters were recorded at voting centers, nearly 70% higher than the 17,180 who voted during the same time period in 2019.
Mail in ballots were also trending higher, with the 5,093 already returned closing in on the total of 5,888 that came back two years ago.
Tarrant County has a collection of large races on the ballot, including the mayor in Arlington, and the mayor in Fort Worth for the first time in a decade.
There is also a 23-person race to replace Republican Rep. Ron Wright in Congress, after he died in February.
“That’s a lot of focus on an election that is not usually there,” said elections administrator Heider Garcia.
Spring local elections historically have low turnout, often with less than one in 10 voters marking a ballot.
The election in November however had a record turnout, and decisions by local governments during the pandemic have had more scrutiny than in past years.
“I think more people, are getting into the government, and they like to know what’s going on,” said Heidi Wade, who was voting Friday in Fort Worth. “There’s so much turmoil going on.”