According to a cost of voting index compiled by political scientists at Northern Illinois University, Jacksonville University and Wuhan University in China, it’s harder to register to vote in Texas than in any other state in the country.
Now, more than 10 percent of the state’s registered voters have already participated in the 2020 election, either by person or in mail by Thursday (October 15). That’s more than 2 million people and is a significant sign that this election from President on down, could have a larger turnout than even 2008 or 2012. In Harris County alone, there have been over 620,000 votes cast, the majority of which cast in person.
However, the state has created numerous obstacles throughout the voting system. Comparing Texas’ issues in terms of comfort and convenience with other states and the Lone Star State is all alone — at the bottom of the list.
The issues with Texas and voting as outlined by the voting index are: “an in-person voter registration deadline 30 days prior to Election Day, has reduced the number of polling stations in some parts of the state by more than 50% and has the most restrictive pre-registration law in the country, according to the analysis.”
States located at the top of the voting index list are those states where it is easier to vote. Those states have benefits such as online voter registration, automatic voter registration and allow voters to register to vote all the way up to and including Election Day. Those states also require a signature for in-person voting as opposed to the photo identification laws that exist in Texas.
In 2018, Texas had 45.6 percent of eligible voters participate in the election, versus the national average of 49.4 percent, according to the United States Election Project. In the 2016 Presidential election, turnout in Texas was 51.4 percent of the state’s eligible voters and the national average was 60.1 percent. The states with lower turnout in 2016 were Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia and Mississippi.
Many believe that there would be more active participation in voting if there were less restrictions in regards to voting. In 2018, Texas fell behind the likes of Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. Considering the urgency behind voting in 2020, it is possible that voter turnout for this upcoming election is greater than it was in 2016 as well as 2018.