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    The line at the Burleson Sub-Courthouse stretched out the door and far into parking lot on Monday as residents took advantage of the first day for early voting. The date of the general election is Nov. 6. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. BURLESON STAR/NEETISH BASNET
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Big turnout in county for early voting

Texas opened early voting for the midterm elections on Monday as a record number of Johnson County voters got out and braved long lines to cast their ballots.

According to data released by the Johnson County Elections Office, a total 4,196 votes were cast on the first day of early voting in Johnson County, which more than quadrupled compared to 2014 early voting first day numbers.

“People are coming out, they are really pumped-up,” said Johnson County Elections Administrator Patty Bourgeois. “And that was every location, too. Usually, it’s Burleson or Cleburn, but every location has been a steady flow.”

Johnson County listed seven early voting locations across the county— three in Cleburne, two in Alvarado and one each in Godley and Burleson.

One-third, or 33 percent, of all the Johnson County first day votes were from the Burleson location, according to the data.

Due to the large voter turnout, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office had to control the influx of traffic at the Burleson location, the County Sub-Courthouse.

“It was pretty smooth [Monday], even though it was extremely busy,” Bourgeois said. “Our judge and clerks did an awesome job.”

This year, Texans are voting for the highly contested and publicized race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and  Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D). In the gubernatorial race, incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott will be vying for a re-election against Lupe Valdez, the Democratic nominee for governor.

Apart from the big federal and state-wide races, a proposition affecting the county status is also in the ballot. Proposition A seeks to convert the Johnson County’s Tier 1 county status to a Tier 2 county status, which stops cities from annexing unincorporated properties without consent.

“People should vote to voice their opinions and what they choose,” Bourgeois said. “I think, with the proposition and also the state race, it’s pretty heated.”

Early voting provides a long-enough window for individuals to vote and not wait for Election Day to come, Bourgeois said.

Joshua resident Chad Smithers, accompanied by his wife, were two of the hundreds of voters who went to the polls on Monday in Burleson at the the Johnson County Tax Office. The Smithers stayed in line for about half-an-hour outside the polling station before they could enter the building to vote.

“People might have plans on that one day,” said Smithers said of Election Day. “During the winter, in November, there’s cold weather, and I don’t want to be out in the line. I don’t like to vote at the last minute, because there’s more of a crowd in the last minute.”

Burleson resident Scott Smith also came out to vote on Monday. He said he was worried the lines would be longer during Election Day.

“I never early voted, but you know, the last time--gosh,” Smith said, recalling the long line to vote. “I mean at the last election. I was like, ‘I’m not doing this next time. I’m early voting.’”

Early voting in Johnson County is open until Friday, Nov. 2, a week before Election Day.

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