Higher Turnout Possible for Run-Off
by: Laurie Johnson, November 30, 2009 6:11:00 am
As Yogi Berra said, it's deja vu all over again. It seems like we just had an election, probably because we did. And now it's time for the run-off, which is officially on December 12th with early voting starting today.
University of Houston Political Scientist Dick Murray says he expects to see a higher turnout for the run-off than there was for the general election.
"There were 180,000 votes cast in the city. That's extremely low. Six years ago when we had a comparable open election with no incumbent mayor running we had 300,000 voters, and the city is significantly larger. So that's why I think turn out will probably creep up a little bit because it was so extremely low in November."
And there may be even more interest this time around. The mayor's race, run-off for controller and a handful of council races have drawn a lot of attention over the past few weeks.
"The race for mayor has gotten a little more heated here in the run-off and the candidates are throwing some sharper elbows. That often does drive up voter interest somewhat. So I look for a pretty lively run-off."
And because the actual election day comes so close to Christmas, Murray say he thinks early voting will be even more popular.
There are a few things that are different about early voting for the run-off.
Hector DeLeon with the Harris County Clerk's office says because this is a Houston election and doesn't include the entire county, there are 21 early voting locations instead of the usual 30-plus. And the hours are different too. This week, they're open from 8am to 5pm.
"Those are the City of Houston business hours, so the early voting locations will be open during that period for the first week. Saturday voting goes from 7am to 7pm and then on Sunday it goes from 1pm to 6pm. And then the last two days, the 7th and 8th, will be 7am to 7pm."
As long as you're a registered voter and live in the City of Houston you can vote in the run-off even if you didn't vote in the general election.
You can view a sample ballot and find a link to information on voting locations on the KUHF election coverage page.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.