Election Day enthusiasm doesn’t match early voting

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When polls opened at 7 a.m. at R.L. Pascal High School, 17 voters stood in 50 degree weather waiting to cast their ballots.

More votes were cast in Tarrant County during this year’s early voting than in the entire 2014 midterm election, according to the Tarrant County Board of Elections.

A record 38 percent of all registered voters in Tarrant County cast an early ballot. One of the draws was the heated race for U.S. Senate where Democrat Beto O’Rourke is trying to unseat Republican Ted Cruz and become the first Democrat in 30 years to win a senate seat.

Both campaigns urged voters to head to polls early.

When asked about Election Day, one poll worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said that while turnout was higher than usual it wasn’t “anywhere close” to the turnout he saw during early voting.

“It’s not the largest turn out we’ve had over the years, but it’s certainly not the lowest,” he said.

First time midterm voter Matt Clint, 25,  said the push from his friends on social media is what brought him to the polls.

Clint, who voted in the 2016 presidential election, but not in the 2014 midterms, said he “felt like more people were talking about this election than in 2016 and way more than 2014.

“I’ve had some of the longest and best political discussions with my friends over the last few months and I thought I should go ahead and vote,” said Clint.

That increase in communication and dialogue between people is something that brought Washington D.C. native and regular voter Turner Bridgforth to the polls.

“I don’t really like one party over the other, but I see Beto trying to push for different politics,” Bridgforth said. “He’s running for America, not just his party.”

Voters like Belinda Lewis, 63, said she feels like her vote actually matters in this election.

“This is a critical moment for our nation. I don’t have to worry about the Electoral College. I get to give my say and use my voice.”