LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock County voter turnout was 17% higher at this point in 2018, following statewide trends of lower voter participation in this year’s midterm election.

56,897 people voted in the two weeks of early voting, compared to 66,370 in the last midterm’s early voting period. That equals a turnout of just 30.3% of registered voters, down from 37.7% four years ago. That lower ballot counts comes despite Lubbock County adding almost 12,000 new registered voters in the last four years.

Lubbock County Elections Administrator Roxzine Stinson said she is optimistic total turnout will not be low, and she is pleased with the turnout so far.

“Our numbers are not quite what they were four years ago for early voting, however they are up over past midterm elections,” she said. they are quite a bit up from there. “We’ve been hearing talk from other counties that people are waiting until Election Day to come out, and that may be what it is.”

Stinson points to changes to election laws as one possible explanation for depressed turnout this year. For example, the county can no longer send mail-in ballot applications without voters requesting them, she said.

Data from the last four midterm cycles dating back to 2006 shows Election Day turnout is typically about half the total early vote. If that trend continues, Lubbock County will catch up to 2018 with about 85,000 total votes. That is just under 2018’s turnout, but still less than half of registered voters.

“We’re actually looking for more than that tomorrow,” Stinson said. “We really feel like we’ll have more voters than that.”

Stinson said she expects long lines and steady turnout at every polling location tomorrow, and advised voters to be patient.

“I don’t think [turnout] is going to be low. I’m looking for a great day tomorrow. Take your ID, take your patience with you.”