Last-minute early voters hit the polls across North Texas

Early voting numbers across North Texas are way up from the last midterms, with record turnout that seems more like a presidential election year.

Statewide, early voting for this midterm election has already surpassed the combined early and Election Day turnout in 2014.

At last check, Dallas county tallied more than 492,000 early votes. That's slightly less than the 2016 presidential election, but it more than doubles the early voting number from 2014.

Tarrant County said it has also more than doubled its numbers from the last midterms. though it's down about 50,00 from 2016.

In Collin County, about 270,000 people early voted. That's about 10,000 fewer than in 2016, but it’s nearly three times as many as 2014.

Denton County had 216,000 early votes. That’s more than three times as much as the last midterm.

“Early voting is 55-60% of the total vote, so most people turn out early,” said SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson.

A record 15.6 million people are registered. Through Thursday, 4.3 million Texans in the top 30 counties had already cast ballots. While the turnout is setting early voting records, we can't know what that means until Tuesday night.

Candidates and their parties do know a lot about those who have voted, says Republican Political Consultant Vinny Minchillo.

“We know who has voted. We know where you voted. We know when you voted. We also know your voting history,” he said.

Access to that information does not come cheap. Typically, only well-financed campaigns can afford it. Computer technology micro-analyzes the early vote for the parties and the candidates.

“They know to the block where they need to focus,” Minchillo said. “We know exactly who's been to the polls. We know exactly who has not been to the polls.”

It’s why some people have been getting text messages reminding them to vote from campaigns who can afford to buy cell phone lists and match those with voters who've not been to the polls.

Despite what early voting trends can tell us, that may not be an indication of how the night will turn out.

“If you can tell from the early votes and whether it’s coming out of black precincts or Democratic precincts or if it’s coming out of Highland Park, that’s usually Republican,” Jillson said. “That’s how you try to project who is up in the early vote.”

If you early voting, polls in many counties will open again on Election Day Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.