BRAZOS COUNTY, TEXAS — How did Texas go from being a low-voting state to leading the nation in early voting numbers? Some College Station residents say it's the importance of the election and also wanting to bypass the traditional Election Day crowds.
"I think it's every American's civil duty to get out and vote," Will Davis of College Station said.
There are a number of reasons why Texans are voting early, and they all have a common theme. Voters say they can't afford to not have their voice heard.
"You have people who have never voted in their lives getting out and getting registered to vote," Davis added.
Brazos County Elections Administrator Trudy Hancock says nearly 49,000 registered voters have already cast their ballot, totaling 39% of registered voters.
"Presidential [elections] always brings out a big crowd, but this has been a historic turnout statewide and nationwide, and I think everyone is ready to have their voice heard," she said.
Hancock says her office wanted voters to get out early and pushed the idea of Brazos County voting early. She says the more people that vote early, the less crowded Election Day could be.
"With social distancing and with our plan in place, yes we have more locations on Election Day, but yes those lines will be quite lengthy I am sure," Hancock added.
The Brazos County Elections Administrator says she mostly credits the smoothness of early voting to her team and the poll workers out in the field.
"We have phenomenal groups at all of our early voting locations. They work very hard. Most of them are over the age of 70... to add that extra week [of early voting] and then this week, being 12 hour-days, that means almost a 14-hour day for them," Hancock explained.
Voters say they realize the importance of this year's election and are showing why it matters at the polls.
"I think just more people are realizing that they have to show up, because you can't just stay silent anymore," said John Jarvis.
Brazos County resident Sam Smith says he votes in every election, but says this is his first time voting early. He says the pandemic altered why he showed up to vote earlier this time around.
"Because COVID-19 has a lot to do with it. Really because people don't really want to be around a lot of people and everything, and if you come early there are less people," Smith added.
"We went into it expecting high numbers, but nothing like this. We voted almost 49,000 already, and we have four days left," Hancock said.
Whether it is the pandemic, extra early voting days or the competitive presidential elections, Texans are getting out in front of it with their early voting turnout.
The elections office says they have a few relocated polling locations, so you will want to double check to see if your polling site is still open. Click here to find your closest polling location.