More people in Galveston County turned out to vote early on Tuesday than they did during the same day in the 2014 midterm elections.
Early voting in Texas for the March 6 primary elections began Tuesday, with 19 polling locations open in Galveston County where people can cast votes over the next two weeks.
On the first day of early voting, 3,180 in-person and mail-in votes were cast according to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. Of those, 2,244 people voted in the Republican Primary, and 936 voted in the Democratic primary.
That’s an 84.13 percent increase compared with the number of voters who turned out during the midterm elections in 2014, according to state records. Republican turnout in the county increased by 48.91 percent.
Democratic turnout, despite having fewer competitive primary races on the ballot, increased by a whopping 325.45 percent. (Though cumulatively, that only amounts to 716 more Democratic voters.)
The two most used voting locations were at the West County Building, 11730 state Highway 6 in Santa Fe, and North County Annex building, 174 Calder Drive in League City, according to the election division of the Galveston County Clerk’s Office.
It remains to be seen whether this year’s early vote turnout in Galveston County will match that of the last comparable primary elections in 2014. That year, 14,845 people cast their votes early, according to county voting records.
Other parts of the state reported high voter turnout from the first day of early voting this year. In Harris County, Republican first-day turnout was up 14 percent and Democratic turnout was up 139 percent, according to TXelects.com.
A little more than a week after Moody National Bank filed a lawsuit against the Galveston County Republican Party Executive Committee, there still isn’t a date set for when the case will actually reach a courtroom.
A lawyer for the party — or at least one faction of it — said she didn’t expect a hearing date set for the case until after the March 6 primary.
There also seems to be an outstanding question of whether the case can be heard in a Galveston County district courtroom, which are presided over by Republican judges.
56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox, whose court the lawsuit was filed in, declined to comment on Wednesday.
Former Galveston 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss said there was almost no question that Cox, or any other Republican judge, would choose to recuse themselves from the lawsuit involving the county party.
A local judge staying on the case likely would draw questions about conflicts of interest, which judges are obligated to try to avoid, she said.
“Anything you do is going to be suspect,” Criss said.
Republican judges might also have to recuse themselves because they know too much about the issue. A local Republican candidate would have a tough time avoiding the infighting going on in the county party, even if they weren’t participating in it themselves, Criss said.
If he does choose to recuse himself, Cox could refer the issue to one of the visiting judges who presides over the district courts when elected judges take a vacation. The issue could also be referred to the region’s administrative judge, Olen Underwood, who himself could decide how the issue should move forward.
In the wake of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., some attention has again shifted to the amount of money some legislators receive from the National Rifle Association in donations.
The Washington Post compiled information about the $4.1 million donated to Congress by the NRA since 1998, the year before the Columbine shooting. In that time, more than $500,000 has been donated to current Texas congressmen.
U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco Republican, has received the most, collecting $51,650 in 19 years.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn — who has introduced a bill to require federal and state authorities to report criminal history to a national background check system — has received $27,750.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has received $11,900. U.S. Rep. Randy Weber has received the least among Texas Republicans in Congress — only $2,000 from the NRA since 2014.
No Texas Democrats have received any funding from the rifle association, according to the Post.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on the death of Rev. Billy Graham: “The Rev. Billy Graham left an indelible mark on America and the world. His passion to serve God and share His love touched countless Texans over the years.” ... Texas flags will be lowered to half-staff on the day of Graham’s burial. ... Former La Marque Mayor Geraldine Sam is polling at 2 percent (with a 4 percent margin of error) in her bid for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate, according to a new Texas Tribune/University of Texas poll. ... U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is polling at 91 percent in that race. ... There were no reported candidates to file write-in bids for local office in Galveston County, meaning that Friday’s list of local council, mayoral and school district candidates is the final one that will appear on May ballots.