WASHINGTON: Texans on Tuesday joined a wave of Americans casting ballots at a record-setting pace, jamming early-voting polling places ahead of a Nov 3 election showdown between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Long lines of voters snaked out the doors and down the sidewalks at polling places around big cities such as Houston and Dallas, social media videos showed.
“I’ve lived here 13 years and NEVER had a line to vote,” one voter wrote on Twitter, posting a video showing a line of people curling down a walkway 90 minutes before polls opened in Pearland, Texas, near Houston.
In Georgia, where early voting began on Monday, some people waited five hours or more to cast ballots in a record-breaking early turnout for a state that also features two competitive US Senate races.
Glitches with Georgia’s new voting machines prolonged the delays in some locations, voting rights groups said, mirroring issues that led to long delays in the state’s June primary.
With three weeks left until the election, Americans have cast more than 10 million early votes in person and by mail across the country, according to data compiled by the US Elections Project. A bitter fight for the White House and control of Congress has many Americans seeking to avoid Election Day crowds amid coronavirus safety concerns. By way of comparison, as of Oct 16, 2016, some 1.4 million Americans had cast early votes.
Both Texas and Georgia are normally Republican-leaning but have emerged as competitive states in the presidential race this year as Biden holds a steady lead in national opinion polls over Trump and expands his campaign into new territory.
Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2020