WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With four days remaining in the U.S. presidential campaign, more than 9 million people have cast ballots in Texas, eclipsing total turnout from 2016, the Texas secretary of state’s office said on Friday.
Early voting has been setting records across the United States, with nationwide turnout approaching 60% of the 2016 total, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. But Texas is just the second state, after Hawaii, to break the full-year record before Tuesday’s Election Day.
Texas hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1976, but polls suggest Democratic nominee Joe Biden is leading among the voters who have helped set the unprecedented early vote levels. Polls also show Biden effectively tied with Republican President Donald Trump in Texas.
Harris County, the state’s biggest, which includes Houston and has become a Democratic stronghold in recent years, opened eight 24-hour voting locations on Thursday, helping boost the turnout numbers to their record level on Friday.
The Trump campaign has cited its own internal analysis that it said showed the president is ahead by hundreds of thousands of votes among early ballots. Trump won Texas by a 9-percentage-point margin in 2016, when total turnout reached 8,969,226, according to the secretary of state.
Biden’s running mate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California, is scheduled to visit Texas on Friday. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $15 million in the state and Ohio in a last-minute bid to flip both Republican-leaning states.
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