More than 5,000 people cast votes early in Galveston County in advance of Saturday’s elections.
According to the Galveston County Elections office, 4,072 people voted at early voting polls this year. Another 1,024 voted with absentee mail-in ballots.
Officials could not say Wednesday how many of the ballots were cast for individual races. The returns will not be tallied until polls close Saturday.
Early voting places closed Tuesday. The count of early votes includes those cast for elections for 14 local governments, including the cities of Galveston, Jamaica Beach, Bayou Vista, La Marque, Texas City and Kemah.
Early voting turnout appears to be greater than in recent years.
In 2012, the last election to include a city of Galveston council race, 7,710 people voted. In that race, about 4,200 votes were cast early.
Bill Sargent, the county’s chief deputy clerk for elections, said that some increases in early voting numbers, particularly mail-in votes, may be attributed to a change in state law last year that allowed absentee ballots to be sent to voters automatically, instead of requiring absentee ballot requests for individual races.
Sargent said that in addition to the votes that were officially cast, there were 54 provisional ballots. Those ballots will be forwarded to a voter registrar to be reviewed before being counted or thrown out.
Two elections Saturday are not being administered by the county.
The Dickinson Independent School District drew 715 early votes, according to a school district spokeswoman. Another 20 ballots had been mailed in. Voters are considering a bond that would fund construction of an elementary school and an intermediate school.
The Clear Creek Independent School District counted 264 early votes and a single mail-in vote for a race for a seat on the school board.