Early voting ends Friday; more Texans voting early in 2020 than through election day 2016

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Early voting ends Friday in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott extended early voting by an additional six days because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A record number of people had voted early through Thursday, more than voted during both early voting and on election day in 2016. The Texas Secretary of State says more than nine million people have cast ballots since early voting began October 13.

In 2016, a total of 8.97 million people voted in Texas, including early voters and those who voted on election day. Through Thursday, 9,009,850 had voted.

Some say they voted early to avoid large crowds during the pandemic.

"Considering we're all wearing face masks and shields, I would say coronavirus is a pretty major issue," one voter said in Fort Worth. "How will that be handled in the future if something like that happens again?"

Others say they were drawn because they think this election has been more contentious than 2016.

"It's been an experience as far as watching the news, and especially everything that's happened this year," another voter said.

About 90% of votes cast have been in person, according to the Texas Secretary of State.

Part of the increase in the total number of votes may be driven by population growth. According to the U.S. Census, the Texas population has increased from about 27.9 million in 2016 to almost 29 million last year, the most recent statistics that are available.

According to the Texas Secretary of State's office Dallas County has a total of 1.4 million registered voters, 111,298 more voters than in 2016. Dallas County had 744,799 early votes through Thursday, representing 53.26% of all voters. In 2016, Dallas County had 43% turnout through early voting.

Tarrant County has 1.2 million registered voters, 134,906 more than 2016. Through Thursday, 677,783 had voted, a turnout of 55.9%. In 2016, 47.81% of voters voted early in Tarrant County.

Collin County has 648,670 voters, 111,755 more than in 2016. Turnout through Thursday was 65.34%, up from 56% throughout early voting in 2016.

Denton County has 565,089 voters, an increase of 100,260 from four years ago. Through Thursday, early voting turnout was 63.43%, up from 51.62% in all of early voting four years ago.