Energized tri-county voters break records, rock local elections

TRI-COUNTY — Early voting turnout broke records across Texas, and with an extra week of time to cast ballots, the question became, are there more voters, or just more voters voting early. But as Election Day enters the rearview mirror, it’s safe to say voters in the tri-county area were fired up and casting more ballots than any other time in recent history.

Historical data on county voting provided by the secretary of state dates back 32 years to 1988. And since 1988, Presidio, Brewster and Jeff Davis counties have never recorded a higher number of individuals voting. This year, Presidio County saw 2,217 ballots cast, over 46% of registered voters in the county. The only year with higher percentage turnout since 1988 was in 1996 when almost 49% of registered voters cast their ballots – but there were only 3,508 registered voters then, over 1,300 less than today.

In Presidio County, the voter bump applied to both parties in the presidential race. Trump earned 721 local votes this year, compared to 652 in 2016. Biden, meanwhile, racked up 1463 votes, compared to 1458 votes for Clinton in 2016.

This year, the neighboring counties did even better in terms of turning out its registered voters. Brewster County recorded a 63.86% turnout and Jeff Davis a whopping 78.08% turnout of their electorate, more than either had recorded in the past 32 years.

In addition to the presidential race, city elections that normally take place in the spring were delayed to November, adding a massive bump of engagement for city elections. Weeks ahead of Election Day, the city of Alpine had already crossed 700 ballots cast, more than the city had recorded in recent memory.

While total votes cast in the city of Marfa weren’t readily accessible by press time, the individual votes for candidates paint a picture of much higher turnout. The highest vote-getter, Eddie Pallarez, received 525 votes, compared to the 2018 city election’s highest vote-getter netting only 281 votes that year.