AUSTIN (KXAN) — Monday is the deadline to register to vote in November’s election, and 96% of eligible voters in Travis County are registered.
That leads Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to say this year has become “the new benchmark.”
“This blows the lid off everything,” she said.
Voter registration in Travis County is 3% higher than in 2016, and more than 844,000 voters are registered as of Monday.
Of registered voters, 25% are ages 26-35 and 14% are ages 18-25, making up nearly 40% of the county’s voter pool.
“The real key is that group, being so large of the whole, really has the potential to have a major impact on any election. It really comes down to turnout,” said Gretchen Nagy, director of voter registration for Travis County.
Mail-in voting has been a hot issue during the COVID-19 pandemic, and DeBeauvoir said she’s expecting at least 100,000 mail-in ballot applications because of the pandemic. She said that’s nearly three times more than the 2016 election cycle, and 86% of the people who filed for a mail-in ballot are over 65 years old, DeBeauvoir said.
Last week, Gov. Abbott issued a proclamation saying counties could only designate one location for ballot drop-offs, and that has since been challenged by multiple voting rights groups via lawsuit.
“The numbers are completely off the chart,” DeBeauvoir said.
With pandemic concerns and a need for more polling locations and other adjustments, the cost of the election comes in around $7 million, which is $5 million more that the county anticipated.
DeBeauvoir said the county could get a grant to cover about half the bill.
In 2008, Travis County had its highest voter turnout ever at 77%, and DeBeauvoir said this year may challenge that.
“I think it’s going to rival that, and it’s very likely this election will keep breaking records,” she said.
Snapchat helping register young people
Officials with the social media platform Snapchat say they’ve helped register more than 1 million of the app’s users to vote.
More than half are first-time voters, officials say, and 80% of those registered are younger than 30 years old.
Officials say they registered the most users in Texas.