Some voted because of health care. Others voted because of Brett Kavanaugh or Ted Cruz or Beto O’Rourke. Still others voted because their friends and family urged them to the polls — whether they were informed about the issues or not.
Tuesday’s midterm election drew more than 23,000 Galveston County voters, adding to the more than 82,000 people who voted during the two-week early voting period leading up to the election, for a total turnout of about 105,000.
That was up more than 40,000 voters over the 2014 midterms, when just short of 65,000 people voted in the county.
Galveston County’s 35 Election Day polling locations seemed consistently busy, but not overwhelmed on Tuesday.
Waits of more than an hour were reported at the polling stations at Galveston’s Moody Methodist Church, at League City’s Creekside Intermediate School and Dickinson’s community center on Tuesday afternoon and evening. The lines were so long that in some parts of the county, voting continued well past 8 p.m.
In other places, including Galveston’s downtown courthouse, voters said they got in and out with relative ease.
The reasons people gave for voting were diverse.
“Mostly health stuff,” said Galveston resident Heather Saracco, who was voting with her daughter, Michaela, 19.
“I’m older now. This is the first time I’ve ever voted. I’m almost 50. I just started to notice more since all this stuff with Donald Trump. It makes you want to be more involved, I guess.”
Both of the Saraccos were voting for the first time, they said.
Others, like Tina Mathers, said they don’t usually vote in midterm elections, but were motivated by recent news events, like the controversy over the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“With the occurrences that happened with Kavanaugh, I really felt it was important to get my voice out,” Mathers said. “I think it’s real important that we take politics seriously, and it’s not a bullying situation.”
She said she thought Democrats tried to use sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh to politically manipulate his appointment, which frustrated her.
Other voters said there were no specific news events on their minds, but that they had been urged by friends and family members to vote anyway.
“I really just don’t keep up with stuff,” Brooke Lowery, 25, said. “I don’t even have cable so I have no idea what’s going on. She’s a registered voter though, and decided to cast a ballot after a conversation with a friend.
“My friend was really into it, so she kind of filled me in on everything,” Lowery said.
“It’s definitely a group year,” said Megan Ivason, 20, who voted with Lowery. “I feel like everybody I know was saying ‘I have a sticker.’”