More than 9,000 early votes were cast in the Denton City Council runoff races for mayor, District 2 and at-large Place 6 — a 13.3% turnout.
“That’s actually a big percentage for this type of runoff,” Denton County Deputy Elections Administrator Brandy Grimes said. “If you get to 10%, that is a bigger turnout than normal.”
For the early voting period, which ran from Nov. 23 through Friday, 9,153 ballots were cast in Denton’s runoff races, more than in early voting for last year’s municipal election.
Grimes said that 87,787 residents are registered to vote in Denton, although “a small fraction would not be eligible for this election” because they weren’t registered in time.
Of those Denton residents registered to vote, 23,029 live in District 2, Grimes said.
In May 2019, including early voting, 5,873 people cast their ballots for District 1, District 2, District 3 and District 4. A year earlier, 23,274 people voted in the at-large Place 5, at-large Place 6 and mayoral races. The latter, of course, are citywide races. In the runoff election for at-large Place 5, 6,506 people voted.
But the municipal elections this year are unprecedented because of the pandemic. Denton City Council members postponed the May elections for District 1, District 2, mayor, Place 5 and Place 6 until the November General Election — a presidential election year, when a higher number of voters historically turn out. For those races, 169,262 votes were cast.
And in May 2017, 7,433 ballots were submitted in races for District 1, District 2, District 3 and District 4. District 3 went to a runoff that year, when 2,518 people voted.
On Tuesday, voters will decide who will succeed Chris Watts as mayor — District 2 council member Keely Briggs, a community volunteer in her third term, or Gerard Hudspeth, who left the council on Nov. 17 after Birdia Johnson won her race against George Ferrie Jr. for District 1. A litigation consultant, Hudspeth completed his second term.
For at-large Place 6, the candidates are Paul Meltzer, a retired product developer in his first term, and pastor Jim Mann. And in District 2, retiree Connie Baker and administrator Ronnie Anderson are the candidates.
On Tuesday, polls in Denton are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
And on Wednesday, early voting begins in the state Senate District 30 runoff between state Rep. Drew Springer, a businessman who represents Texas House District 68, and Shelley Luther, a Denton County resident who gained fame after being jailed for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders by opening her Dallas salon during the pandemic. District 30 includes north Denton County, including most of the city of Denton, and parts of 13 other counties.
Election day for that runoff is Dec. 19.