It’s Election Day, and Texans are casting votes for local, statewide and national races.
In easily the most high-profile race, Beto O’Rourke is challenging incumbent Greg Abbott for Texas governor. But a slew of other races are on the ballot, as well, including lieutenant governor and attorney general.
We’re tracking activity at polling places across the region and will be providing live updates throughout the day and evening as results are totaled.
About 196,000 ballots cast in Dallas County by 6:30 p.m.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said about 196,000 voters had cast their ballot in Dallas County by 6:30 p.m.
“That’s more than the number from 2018′s Election Day!” Jenkins wrote on Twitter. “Go make your voice heard!”
Locations with the most votes counted included University Park United Methodist Church at 2,241, Fretz Park Branch Library at 1,971 and Irving City Hall at 1,958.
Overseas voter confusion
Andrew Burchell was frustrated that he couldn’t even cast a provisional ballot.
Burchell, 28, a former Dallas resident who lives in Scotland, was in Texas on Election Day and went to the Kessler Park United Methodist polling site to cast his ballot.
But he said that upon presenting his passport — an acceptable form of ID — poll workers said they could not give him a ballot because he did not have a current Dallas County address.
“As a taxpayer and a registered voter in Dallas County, it’s quite frustrating being told you literally have no say in national policy or state-level policy,” he said.
Americans citizens living overseas are generally eligible to vote in federal and state elections. People living abroad must fill out the Federal Postcard Application, or FPCA, to register and request their ballots by mail.
If someone requests a ballot overseas and decides to vote in person on Election Day, they shouldn’t have been turned away, said Petra Laird, an elections analyst with Dallas County.
Burchell said he’s sent in his ballot by mail since he left for university in 2012.
‘Sweaty ballots’ causing issues?
Texas’ humid weather might’ve caused an issue with a voting machine in Arlington, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported.
A machine at the Grace Community Church wasn’t accepting ballots and an election judge said “sweaty ballots” were likely the issue. Many voting systems use thermal paper to avoid ink but it has to be stored in a way that humidity can’t get to it or it might become “sweaty” and increase in size causing it to be too big to fit into voting machines.
The issue was resolved within a few minutes, only affecting two voters, and operations were back to normal.
How Republicans seized control of Texas
Texas’ premier race today is the gubernatorial election, featuring Greg Abbott versus Beto O’Rourke.
But The Dallas Morning News’ political writer Gromer Jeffers and artist Michael Hogue took a look back, detailing how Republicans have seized control of Texas over the past two decades.
Starting with the 2002 matchup between Rick Perry and Tony Sanchez, which ushered in a new era of Texas politics, their story goes on to include a long list of other characters and politicians you might remember: Kinky Friedman, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Wendy Davis, to name a few.
Signs of illegal campaigning in Oak Cliff
No lines were visible at the Oak Cliff Government Center just before noon.
Ashley Aguilar came out of the designated voting area and took her daughter Aria into her arms as the 5-month old’s father took his turn voting.
Aguilar said unlike what she anticipated, she experienced no wait time.”I would liked to have seen more people here, it’s a benefit I didn’t have to wait but I hope people show up,” she said.
Aguilar added she saw campaign materials, including a piece of paper which read “Top county women candidates,” on one of the tables where voters check in. A few campaigners outside of the building were handing out these sheets of paper to people walking in.
Officials working the polls said two campaigners were caught handing out illegal campaigning materials outside the government center to people entering the building, which listed three Republican candidates as “Top County Women Candidates” without any indication of who approved or sponsored the message. The officials said the campaigners have since left the premises.
Threat at Plano’s Clark High School
The Plano Police Department is investigating a threat at Clark High School, which is also serving as a polling location. District spokeswoman Lesley Range-Stanton released the following statement about the incident:
Following up on information reported to the Plano Police Department, Clark administrators, along with Plano ISD safety and security services personnel and the Plano Police Department, are investigating a social media post that implied a potential threat involving our school. As the investigation is underway and potentially involved students are being identified, we will have an additional security presence on campus today.
Clark High School and Plano ISD take all threats seriously and have policies and practices in place to safeguard our students and schools. All perceived or implied threats to a Plano ISD school, student or staff member, even as a prank, will be investigated by the school and law enforcement, and may result in school and/or criminal consequences depending on the severity of the incident.
The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. We appreciate our parents for your ongoing support of our efforts to maintain a safe and secure learning environment.
What’s at stake in the midterms?
If Republicans take control of the House — as polls predict — where is the U.S. headed? That’s the gist of Washington, D.C. bureau chief Todd Gillman’s comprehensive look at the midterm election, in which Republicans are trying to wrest control from Democrats of the House and Senate.
The answer? We could be in for an era of divided government and stalemate.
Glitches in 2 Texas counties could delay election results
Election results may be delayed in Texas thanks to glitches in Bell and Harris counties, state election officials said.
Unknown technical issues with machines delayed voting for more than an hour this morning in Bell County in Central Texas. At least eight polling locations were affected, leading to long lines. County officials received an order from a district judge to extend voting to 8 p.m.
Similar delays were reported in Harris County — home to a large majority of Democratic voters — but it was not immediately clear how many locations were affected.
Collin County candidate says opponent slapped him
Authorities are investigating allegations that Collin County Judge Chris Hill slapped his challenger following a contentious Commissioners Court meeting Monday.
Democratic candidate Joshua Murray alleges that Hill — a Republican incumbent — shoved and slapped him after Monday’s meeting, according to a release. However, Hill says Murray was in contempt of court for shouting at the judge and refusing to leave the courtroom, according to the judge’s statement.
Beto O’Rourke in Dallas: ‘We are going to get this done’
Amid heckles, Democrat Beto O’Rourke delivered a five-minute stump speech Tuesday morning to a crowd of about 200 people at Fretz Park Branch Library in North Dallas.
“We are going to get this done,” O’Rourke told his supporters. “You all have done the work — you all have kept the faith.”
O’Rourke said he felt confident about his chances in Tarrant County, a historically red county that went for the Democrat in 2018. O’Rourke called Tarrant County the “bellwether for the state.”
“The voters of Tarrant County, after eight years of failure from Greg Abbott, are voting for change,” O’Rourke told reporters outside a Dallas polling place.
After taking a selfie with O’Rourke, Paul Rigney told the candidate that he is the first Democrat he’s voted for in the state.
Rigney, 63, said he was a classic Reagan Republican who previously voted for Abbott, but said the governor’s handling of the 2021 winter freeze caused him to flip parties and candidates.
“I don’t like people who steal democracies,” Rigney added
Tempers flare in North Dallas as police separate opposing groups
Tempers flared Tuesday morning at Fretz Branch Park Library when Kevin Whitt, a supporter of conservative causes, accused someone of grabbing at his phone.
Whitt was outside the library encouraging voters to cast their ballot for Earl Jackson in the 301st District Court.
Police arrived and separated two arguing groups, but no arrests were made. Whitt is a former Texas GOP staffer who was fired by the party after posting video of himself near the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.
Whitt was escorted by police from the front of a crowd waiting for Democrat Beto O’Rourke to speak. One supporter of O’Rourke said Whitt called her a derogatory term. Whitt was allowed to return the front of the crowd after speaking with police.
Dallas polling places report early lines
Before the doors even opened this morning, a line had formed outside William B. Travis Academy in Uptown Dallas.
Although the polling place was fully staffed, voters had to wait roughly 45 minutes to cast their ballot. By 9:30 a.m., more than 300 voters had come through, election judge Andrea Barreiro said.
“I think that this location was busier today than it was two years ago on election day,” she said.
Barreiro said several voters told her they updated their address with the Department of Public Safety, but it was not forwarded to the elections department. Those voters were required to submit a provisional ballot.
Several polling places around Dallas reported similar waits Tuesday morning, with voters waiting about 30 minutes at Mt. Horeb Missionary Baptist Church, Oak Cliff Government Center and John Peeler Elementary School.
At Bachman Recreation Center in Dallas, about 20 voters arrived at the polling place in the first hour it opened, as runners jogged on the nearby trail.
By 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, no waits in Dallas County were exceeding 30 minutes. In Tarrant County, five polling places showed waits of 30 minutes to an hour, according to the county’s map.
How to report irregularities, harassment, intimidation
State and local officials say voters should report any irregularities, harassment or intimidation they witness at the polls. Here are a few ways to report something suspicious.
Dallas County: Call 469-627-8683 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas NAACP: Call Lonzo Kerr at 512-985-9151 or Linda Lewis at 254-754-7001
Texas Secretary of State: Call 1-800-252-8683 or email email@example.com
Texas Election Protection Hotline: 1-866-687-8683
What to watch for today: Latino vote, inflation, abortion
Political writer Gromer Jeffers Jr. has covered the governor’s race and contests up and down the ballot all year, in addition to appearing on Lone Star Politics, the Sunday morning political show with our partner, KXAS-TV (NBC 5). Before today’s election, he offers a preview of what to watch.
Latino vote: Abbott, who is holding his election night party in McAllen, has predicted he’ll win the Latino vote. That would be disastrous for O’Rourke and Democrats up and down the ballot.
Inflation: If there’s a red wave, it will have resulted from uneasiness about the economy and Biden’s unpopularity in Texas. Polls show the economy as the No. 1 issue for Texas voters, just ahead of border security.
Youth vote: If young voters show up, it will give O’Rourke and some Democrats a boost. Though the youth vote has been growing in other areas across the county, it’s mostly dormant in Texas.
Urban areas: If turnout doesn’t increase in places like Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth, it will be a long night for statewide Democratic candidates. A strong turnout could boost statewide candidates and regional candidates for judicial posts, such as appeals courts.
Abortion: Will supporters of national abortion rights strike a blow at the polls? If so, it could help Democrats in several key contests.
Which school districts closed for Election Day?
Hundreds of North Texas schools are closed today in response to security concerns at campuses used as polling places.
The region’s two largest districts — Dallas and Fort Worth — gave students the day off. In a statement, Fort Worth ISD said the decision addresses “safety concerns regarding using campus sites as polling locations and individuals having open access to the campus sites.”
Keller, Richardson, Garland and Birdville ISDs also made Tuesday a holiday.
Early voting totals tumble, compared to 2018
We don’t yet know what today’s turnout will look like, but we do know that early voting statewide and in North Texas was down significantly from the 2018 midterm election, according to the Texas secretary of state. Dallas County’s early voting turnout was 23% lower than in 2018, the biggest decrease among North Texas counties.
Misinformation is likely today; here’s what voters should look for
False information about election procedures — how to vote, how to get to the polls, what times the polls open and close — are likely to be spread today, and they are designed specifically to reduce voter turnout, misinformation experts say. Voters should always make sure their information about voting comes from an elections office or official.
Tell us about your voting experience
The Dallas Morning News wants to know about your experience today at the polls and whether you encountered any issues or have questions.
Did you wait a long time to vote? What was the atmosphere like at your polling location? Did a poll worker check your ID or did you see someone wearing a political T-shirt? Tell us about it.
Weather forecast for Election Day
Following days of rain across the region that at times turned intense, the weather looks perfect for voters heading to the polls today. Temperatures this morning are hovering in the high 60s to low 70s, with little chance of rain.
7 a.m. Polls open across state
Polls are now open throughout Texas.
Here’s a reminder of what you need to take with you to the polling place. Hint: Don’t forget a form of acceptable form of photo ID.
Also, you may be excited to show off a “Beto for Governor” or “Make America Texas Abbott 2024″ T-shirt while you vote. But it’s illegal to do so.
If you need a ride to a polling place, Dallas Area Rapid Transit is offering free transportation all day. No proof of voter registration is required.
In Tarrant County, Trinity Metro and Arlington’s Via service are providing free transportation. Riders must show their voter registration card or current Texas ID for a free ride.
Campaigns bring in millions of dollars; some races shatter records
Candidates have racked up millions of dollars during the midterms. Who’s raising the most? And where does the money come from?
The governor’s race broke all records for money raised and spent, with Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke outraising Gov. Greg Abbott for most of the election.
Abbott outpaced O’Rourke in fundraising in the campaign’s final days, though.
But in the lieutenant governor race, Republican Dan Patrick dominates Democratic opponent Mike Collier in nearly every financial metric.
Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian has faced repeated accusations of corruption and ethics lapses from both Republicans and Democrats. At least two-thirds of his campaign donations came from the oil and gas industry.
Attorney General Ken Paxton raised nearly $2.4 million in October, but his campaign finance report is missing a key detail: where the money came from.
Fundraising in the Dallas County judge and district attorney’s races reached record-breaking numbers.
Texas Republicans confident they will add more seats in state Legislature
Republicans are confident they will add more seats to their majorities in the Texas Legislature, citing favorable early voting trends and President Joe Biden’s lack of popularity in Texas.
Obama joins Texas fray
Some Texans will receive a surprise phone call today. Former President Barack Obama recorded an automated message encouraging voters to support Beto O’Rourke. The calls from the nation’s first Black president are likely designed to increase turnout in Black communities, particularly in Dallas and Houston.
Dallas County DA’s race is a repeat matchup
Incumbent Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Faith Johnson, a Republican who preceded him in the office. In their first matchup, in 2018, Creuzot won with 60% of the vote.
Dallas County is on election rumor patrol
Dallas County’s Elections Department launched a “rumor control” page to fact-check misinformation and encourage voter confidence. Elections department staff is monitoring social media for rumors, but also asks the public to share concerns or questions at DCEcommunications@dallascounty.org.
Everything you need to know about voting on Election Day
We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to help you make your decisions today. Before heading to the polls, check out The Dallas Morning News Voter Guide.
Readers have two options for how to use the guide.
The first — and most popular — option: Simply enter your home address in the field, click the blue button that says “Build My Ballot.” The guide will walk you through all of the races you are eligible to vote in.
A second option: If you would like to explore races not tied to your address, click the blue text that says, “browse a list of all 235 candidates and all 105 races.” That will load a page where you can scroll through candidates and races.
Staff writer Jose Luis Adriano contributed to this report.