On the first day of early voting at Christ United Methodist Church, there was a moderate line out the doors of the church as people gathered to cast their ballots. Voters stood six feet apart in line and were ushered in by poll workers, guided to the volunteers who provided ballots, and then to the ballot boxes. Everyone abided by the rules, wearing masks, and using the complimentary hand sanitizing stations. Few show overt political affiliation, with the exception of a young woman in a Biden/Harris 2020 shirt.

The nearest poll worker is cheerful as she says that she has observed a “pretty steady stream” of voters coming in all day. Everyone has been very polite and many have thanked her for her service.

Texas Tribune’s election tracking has found that of the 648,670 registered voters in Collin County, 238,328 had cast ballots by Oct. 19. Of those voters, 34.5 percent voted in person, and a little over 2 percent cast votes by mail. 

In fact, out of all the ten biggest counties in Texas, Collin County currently has the highest percentage of cast votes with 36.7 percent already cast.

Comparatively, 36.4 percent of Denton County voters have cast ballots in Denton, and 28.5 percent of registered voters have cast votes in Dallas County. 

According to data complied by Collin County election administrator Bruce Sherbet, when the first week of early voting concluded, despite COVID-19, there was an observable uptick in in-person voters on the first days of open polls. 

In 2016, 31,283 Collin County citizens voted on the first day of early voting. In 2020, 39,423 came out across Collin County. Day two of early voting in 2020 saw about 7,000 more voters than in 2016, day three saw 10,000 more, and day four saw about 14,000 more. By day five, the margin of voters shrank, and day six saw about half as many voters in 2020 as it had in 2016. 

But day seven of voting saw another huge bump. Almost 19,000 more voters turned out this year compared to 2016, and on day eight, saw 6,000 more voters in 2020. 

Taken all together, after a week of early voting, 50,710 more voters have already voted in person in Collin County than did by this time in 2016.  

Part of the increase in voters can be down to Collin County’s robust population growth. The US Census shows that Collin County’s population is still growing. Drawn by good schools, low tax rates, and job opportunities, people have moved to Collin County in droves for more than twenty years. Compared to 2016, where the census found 943,719 citizens, Collin County has grown by about 129,000 people in four years.

In the 2016 presidential election, nearly 100 million people—almost half of the eligible voting population in the country—did not vote. 

However, in 2020, The 100 Million Project, a nationwide study about nonvoters, found that more than half of non-voters say the 2020 presidential elections are the most important election of their lifetimes and over 70 percent of non-voters surveyed are planning to vote this time. 

Despite population growth, more Collin County voters are coming out to vote and are, in fact, leading the way to the polls.

Alexandra Cronin

Alexandra Cronin is Local Profile's senior editor. She has been with the company since 2016. She loves great coffee, good food, and average wine.