Voters turning out early

The numbers are in for the first week of early voting, and the trend seems to indicate higher than usual voter turnout in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

A total of 10,333 people had voted as of Monday morning. Of that number, 8,296 were Democratic and 2,037 were Republican.

“It’s significantly higher than our regular presidential year participation,” said Remi Garza, county elections administrator. “The Democratic participation is keeping on pace with 2008 — which was one of the party’s higher points — and the Republicans are just over performing 2012’s turnout.”

Garza said the reason for the higher turnout could be because of the additional races on the ballot — county judge, Pct. 4 commissioner, County Courts-at-Law No. 4 and 5 — and because of the interest in the presidential race.

“There’s a lot of interest in the presidential race, specifically on the Republican ticket. There are a lot of issues surrounding that and people want to have their voices heard,” Garza said. “This is their chance to determine who the nominee is.”

In particular, Donald J. Trump and Ted Cruz may be driving turnout in the Republican primary, while in the Democratic primary, youths are excited about Bernie Sanders, said Mark J. Kaswan , assistant professor of political science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

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