by BRAD ROLLINS
With five days of early balloting to go, voters in the Wimberley and Dripping Springs areas are showing up in considerably greater numbers than those who live in the Interstate 35 corridor cities.
As of Sunday, 9,048 people had voted early in person or by absentee ballots, according to Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan.
Darker-colored areas on the map represent voting boxes with higher percentages of voter turnout as of Friday, the most recent precinct-by-precinct tallies I had on-hand this morning when I sat down to map the data. Lighter-colored areas represent lower turnout. To illustrate how communities that vote in reliable numbers wield more clout in determining the outcome of countywide races, these figures are normalized based on each precinct’s percentage of total votes. This adjustment also compensates for tiny precincts where only a handful of people live.
As has been the case more often than not, western Hays County’s engaged electorate is on course to pull well more than its weight at the polls.
Out of more than 40 boxes, three Wimberley and Woodcreek precincts — 333, 335 and 337 — and one Dripping Springs precinct — 444 — have so far contributed nearly 26.7 percent of all votes cast in the county. Of the top five boxes, only one — 315 — falls in San Marcos’ orbit.
Of the ten precincts that have produced the weakest voter participation, seven are in or around San Marcos. Nearly all of these are precincts populated largely by university students and other younger people less likely to vote. They include the Texas State University campus itself — 334 and 413, for example — and far-flung reaches of the city limits dominated by large-scale apartment complexes — 120 and 415 come to mind. (These numbers will shift somewhat with three days of early voting, starting today, at the LBJ Student Center on campus).
More than 65 percent of voter participation as of Friday came from people who live in either county commissioner Pcts. 3 or 4. By contrast, less than 13 percent of the vote originated from residents of Pct. 1.
The broad strokes here are plain enough for anyone who cares to see them: Barring a dramatic or stealthy shift in the next week, Hays County appears likely to return solidly to the Republican fold when votes are counted Nov. 4.
|Voting precinct||Votes cast through 10/24/14||Registered voters||Voter turnout so far|