Early voting for the March 6 joint primary election is now underway. It’s the first such election in the country in 2018, though if past history has shown anything – it likely won’t be the best attended.
Despite more people moving to Texas than any other state, voting rates in Texas have remained fairly stagnant for decades, often lagging behind most of the country.
“For the size and importance of Texas, and how important how it is in Congress, how important it is in determining the presidency, it is a state that votes very, very low – to the point of almost being an embarrassment,” explained Dr. Brian Smith, a political science professor at St. Edward’s University.
“We do not have a lot of competitive elections, and election competitiveness gets people out to the polls, it gets people excited,” said Dr. Smith.
According to data compiled by the United States Election Project -- based out of the University of Florida -- Texas ranked 48 out of 51 in voter turnout in the 2016 election, ahead of only Tennessee, Hawaii and West Virginia.
In November, KVUE profiled Democratic struggles in the state, where they hold the country’s longest-losing streak in statewide elections.
But Dr. Smith notes that when either Republicans or Democrats win, they tend to do so solidly.
“When we look top-to-bottom, we have a lot of safe Democratic areas, we have a lot of safe Republican areas, we don’t have a lot of battleground areas," Dr. Smith said. "When we look at the Congress in the last Congressional election, there was one congressional seat in the entire state that was even moderately competitive. If you know who’s going to win an election, it isn’t going to get people out to vote because they know either way, their vote isn’t going to be that real decisive vote."