What's driving Texas voters to the polls? Part of it is concern

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Early voting in Texas is smashing records.

As of Monday, Oct. 26, more than seven million Texans, and more than one million in Harris County, have voted in person or by mail.

READ MORE: 1 million and counting: Harris Co. crosses early vote threshold

While those numbers are because of unprecedented efforts in Texas to get out the vote, the early vote is also in part because of voter fear and concerns about suppression or lack of access.

"I certainly feel better doing it in person," said Harris County voter, Daniel Brunmhoelzl. "The mail-in ballot, I've heard stories nationally, and so I just felt better doing it in person. I think that is the safest way."

Those sentiments are not only because of fears about the postal service or fraud, but also the confusing number of lawsuits all related to how you cast your ballot, when you do it, and where.

READ ALSO: Texas voter information: The top voter fraud myths debunked
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It's true: voter fraud exists. Can you become a victim? If you plan on voting by mail, you might want to watch the video above to get informed before you go.



Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia is running for her second term.

She has publicly encouraged Houstonians to vote early, and she is concerned about what she sees as legal efforts to limit the vote.

"There's been an incredible amount of effort being put this election cycle to put fear in people's minds," Garcia told ABC13. "It just seems like they are doing more and more to create obstacles, to create barriers, to intimidate voters from voting rather than helping people exercise their right to vote."

In the past weeks, Texans have seen lawsuits regarding expanded early voting when Gov. Greg Abbott extended it by a week.

Then, more suits surfaced over expanded mail-in drop off locations.

On Saturday, the Texas Supreme Court prevented counties from having more than one.

Another suit was regarding the proactive sending of mail-in ballot applications in Harris County to all registered voters. A fourth suit challenged the legality of drive-thru voting.

READ MORE: Harris County voters may continue using drive-thru voting, Texas Supreme Court rules

Houston attorney Jared Woodfill, the former chair of the Harris County Republican Party, has filed suits in all of those cases this season.

He's won some and lost some.

He said his challenges are not about suppressing the vote. He said that's wrong.

"Through these lawsuits we work to secure the integrity of the ballot box, and that's what we are attempting to do," Woodfill said. "Anytime you try to enforce the law, or make people follow the law, the other side says, 'Voter suppression, voter suppression.' I mean the election code couldn't be more clear. If you don't like the election code, then you go to Austin and you try to amend it."

There are still four more days, after Monday, to cast your ballot early.

Then, of course, you have an opportunity on Election Day.

Before you vote, have a plan, and if you have a problem in Harris County, as we have reported, there is the first-ever security task force whose goal it is to make sure people have their voices heard.

READ MORE: To avoid any issues at the polls, Harris County created first-ever security task force

Learn more on the task force in the video above.

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