Last day of early voting leads to long lines at Houston-area polling locations

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

HOUSTON - Hundreds of thousands of people have turned up to vote early for the midterm elections. As of Friday at 6 p.m., Harris County Clerk officials said there was 77,700 who voted just Friday.

Long lines went out the Trini Mendenhall Community Center as thousands of voters made it in for the last day of early voting.

"Even if the person that I voted for isn't in office, just the fact that I voted gives me a clear conscience, and I feel better," said Spring Branch voter Catherine Vurdside.

"Get out here early with this little guy, trying to avoid some of the crowds," said voter Cameron Rendall who cast his ballot in Katy.

Some of the busiest early voting locations were the Metropolitan Multi Service Center at 1475 West Gray Street with more than 37,000 people who showed up there to vote as of Thursday night. Another busy location Juergen's Hall Community Center at 26026 Hempstead Highway with more than 30,000 voters and then Trini Mendenhall Community Center in Spring Branch with more than 29,000.

"It's been incredibly busy (Friday). The last few days hasn't been as busy as today. I got out here and it's been just like this the entire morning. Cars flooding in on a regular basis. I would say at least four to five cars every two minutes," said electioneer Chris Krahling who set up at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center.

With a record-breaking turnout on the first day of early voting, with more than 63,000 people casting their ballot, the end of early voting is also expected to finish strong.

On Thursday, officials said there were more than 755,000 early voting ballots cast in person and more than 119,000 mailed in.

"The things that are going on in our country today I think is starting to wake people up, and I've always said don't complain unless you go out and vote," said Katy voter Jimmy Locke.

At some places like the MUD District 81 location in Katy, the voting process was short Friday morning.

"I don't think it took me more than 15 minutes," said one voter.

Friday afternoon the Spring Branch location was a bit longer of a wait.

"Probably right around 30 to 40 minutes," said another voter.

Still, many voters said early voting is worth the wait.

"Early voting is going to be packed, so I can only imagine what it's going to be like on Tuesday," Locke said.

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