The so-called "Super Bowl of Elections" is living up to its billing. Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart gave that moniker to the 2016 general election weeks ago in anticipation of record voter turnout, especially after a record number of Texans registered to vote. And if the first two days of early voting are any indication, this election is on pace to surpass even his lofty expectations. On the heels of a record day one tally of over 67,000 ballots cast in-person in Harris County, day two saw an increase to more than 73,000 ballots cast. Including mail-in ballots, a total of more than 205,000 ballots have already been cast in Harris County in just the first two days of early voting. Stanart tells KTRH that the county is on pace for over a million votes cast in early voting, which would shatter the all-time record.
There have been scattered reports of voting issues and irregularities at polling sites across the county, but Stanart says none of them were noteworthy. "Most of it is like 'so-and-so said that so-and-so said,'" he tells KTRH. "It's just this big rumor mill that's been floating around on Facebook and the internet, but we've investigated the ones we've known about, and we can't find any root cause of any voting machine actually malfunctioning."
Stanart remains confident in the security of the county's voting systems. "Nothing is connected to the internet, the machines do encryption, and your vote is recorded in three locations," he says. "We have one of the most secure voting machines in the country."
The biggest issue for early voters so far has been long lines. Stanart assures us they're working on that, too. "We've actually put out some more laptops--more computers to actually process (voters)--that's where the bottleneck was...we had plenty of voting machines at the locations," he says. "And also our clerks have gotten more efficient, they've figured out ways to move people through the process quicker."
Stanart recommends going to the Harris Votes website before you go to vote to find a polling location near you that is the least crowded, and for all other information you'll need to cast a ballot.