By Elsa Maxey
With the General Election this year now a part of our history, in a nutshell here’s what the early voting results showed in Fort Bend County. According to John Oldham, the county’s elections administrator, the total voter turnout before Tuesday’s votes were cast was 153,090. Not quite the reported three quarters of the votes before Election Day this go-round, which Oldham said had been the case in 2008. Of the total number of registered voters, almost half of them or about 45 percent voted early.
This was predicted to be one of the highest early voter and General Election turnouts in Fort Bend County with far more registered voters. “We had 41,000 more registered voters than in 2008, so the percentage may not be the highest,” said Oldham about this year’s outcome. That means that although the voter registrations were up from that of the past 4 years, the smaller percentage turnout can mean more voters casting ballots. Most of the early votes, he said, came from Cinco Ranch during the scheduled period from Oct. 22 ending in Nov. 2, which included Sunday voting in some locations.
About any challenges or confusion on Election Day, “so far none related to locations that I am aware of,” said Oldham on Tuesday morning several hours after voting had begun. But, “voters call constantly asking where they vote.”
Prior to the close of Election Day this Tuesday, Oldham said he expected the voter turnout to be probably 58,000 to 60,000.” After the official count, that could mean that for the 2012 election, Fort Bend County could have seen a 62 percent voter turnout.
On Election Day, a total of 341,544 persons were registered and eligible to vote.
Were there any international monitor sightings in Fort Bend County? No reports and Oldham said that to his knowledge he did not know of any to be sent here.
There were 18 counties in Texas to have international observers monitor the election polls. Texas was among 10 states in the U.S. including Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and South Dakota to be have observers at polls from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
But even before early voting started, the Texas Attorney General sent a letter warning the organization’s representatives not to enter a voting site and to keep their distance from the polling place within a 100 feet in accordance with state law.
Reportedly, representatives of this group of the European and Central Asian nations have been observing U.S. elections since 2002. According to information about the Department of Justice, the Voting Rights Act provides for the appointment of federal observers by order of a federal court. Also reports indicate that members of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the ACLU and other organizations requested the measure which involved the deployment of 44 observers from countries such as Albania, Estonia, Russia, Slovenia and Turkey throughout the U.S.
For detailed election results from Fort Bend County, check the county’s website. For findings from the OSCE, a preliminary report is scheduled for Nov. 7.