Harris County shatters record for first day of early voting in country

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The first day of early voting in Texas got off to a fast start as Harris County beat the highest single-day tally of early voting turnout ever.

The Harris County Clerk's Office announced on Twitter at 4:30 p.m. that over 100,300 votes have been cast so far in Harris County.



Harris County actually broke the record held since 2016 about three hours earlier, according to a tweet from the clerk's office.



Long lines of voters were spotted throughout the day at several polling locations across the Houston area.

At Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, ABC13 talked to voters who woke up at 4 a.m. to make sure they could cast their ballot. They even brought chairs and snacks.

"I have a ballot here that I was going to fill out and put in the mail, but I thought it would be more important for me to come and vote in person because I wanted to make sure my vote got counted," said 86-year-old Helen Cashaw.

Others made it a family affair.

"My sister got here at 5:30. I picked up my mom. My dad's on the way, so we're voting as a family," said Ivalyn Patterson-Cockrell.

At the church, Pastor Dr. Marcus Cosby was on hand to greet voters.

The Houston Food Bank on Portwall is a drive-thru polling location. There, SkyEye spotted a driver who wasn't shy about getting out the vote, pulling up in an SUV wrapped as the American flag.

"Time to vote. Cast your vote. If you got the chance to do it, do it right now," said passenger Jimmy Quinones.

The woman behind the wheel of the patriotic vehicle, Jeannette Arsement, also had a message behind bringing the American flag SUV to the polls.

"I'm tired of racism. I'm tired of the attitude. We're all American. It doesn't matter the color of our skin. We're all American. And it's time that we pull together as one people which is what exactly we are," said Arsement.

She added, "'We the people.' We're all one people. I don't care if you're green, purple or pink. It doesn't matter. We're all one people. We're all Americans."

'We the people' The meaning behind this SUV painted as the American flag
EMBED More News Videos

Can you spot all the people painted on this SUV? This is why one Houstonian said she painted it in the colors of the American flag, and it goes beyond voting.





While you're out voting, be sure to thank the student poll workers.

The Harris County Clerk's Office says they hired about 1,700 student election workers to help out with early voting, Election Day and election night drop offs.

Some of these students are not even old enough to vote yet, but applied for the positions and said they wanted to help out and be part of the election process.

Virtual training was held a few months ago, and students learned how to assemble voting machines and operate voting equipment. At least one student will be at each polling location.

ABC13 spoke to three students, who are all 17 years old and incredibly passionate about their role in helping with this election.

"You have to appreciate the system of democracy, and to keep that system going, I decided to help out and do my part," said high school junior Cameron Dyptan.

"I'm going to help set up electronics and make sure everything is working and functional and monitor the lines and have a count of everyone that's there," said Taylor O'Sullivan, a high school senior.

The student election program has been getting more and more popular. According to the Harris County Clerk's Office, they saw a 43% jump in applications from students since the Nov. 2019 elections, and these students are also earning some extra money for their time.

"I'm very interested in politics, and I took debate class in high school, and I'm still taking it, and we go over US politics all the time," said high school junior Alexander Dyptan.

WATCH: They're not old enough to vote, but these students are ready to help out!
EMBED More News Videos

They're not even old enough to vote yet, but these teens still found a way to be part of the election process!





This year, early voting runs from Oct. 13 - 30.

The last day to apply for a mail-in-ballot is Oct. 23. The deadline for mail-in ballots to be returned to the county is Nov. 3.

NEED MORE INFORMATION ON VOTING?

What you need to know about early voting in Texas

How to request a vote-by-mail ballot in Texas

Toyota Center becomes voting center for 2020 presidential election

NRG Park to become Harris Co.'s election headquarters and will offer drive-thru voting

Follow Charly Edsitty on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.