In this year’s Nov. 8 presidential election, Ft. Bend County experienced a swing in party preference, as well as an increase in early voter turnout from the 2012 election. While Donald Trump was Texas’ candidate of choice, Fort Bend residents voted for Hillary Clinton by a nearly 7% margin.
An unofficial report of this year’s election results created by the county government cited voter turnout at 65%, the same rate listed in the county’s official cumulative report from the 2012 general election. Ft. Bend did, however, experience a 37% increase in first day early voter turnout compared to 2012, a difference of nearly 5,000 people as quoted by Bobby Blanchard of the Texas Tribune. On the second day of early voting, the Fort Bend County commissioners court passed a motion to extend voting hours from 9 hours (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) to 12 hours (7:00 AM to 7:00 PM) on the last two days of the early voting period.
Though Fort Bend has voted for the Republican presidential candidate two election cycles in a row, this year 51% of Fort Bend voters favored Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine, leaving only 45% of the vote to Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and 4% to other candidates.
As cited in the Fort Bend County government’s 2008 and 2012 official cumulative reports on general election results, a majority of Ft. Bend residents voted for Republican candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney by 2% and 7% margins over their Democrat opponents. This year, the unofficial report showed that Fort Bend preferred Hillary Clinton by a 6% margin.
According to the unofficial report, residents still overwhelmingly favored Republican candidates for local offices. Out of the 28 positions for local offices being voted on this year, 10 candidates ran unopposed and 16 of the remaining 18 positions were won by Republican candidates.
A map of Fort Bend county’s subdivisions provided by the Fort Bend Geographic Information System compared to a map showing voting trends in this year’s election provided by the Houston Chronicle reveals that the those living in the more rural, less populated areas of Ft. Bend voted Republican, while those living in the more densely populated urban and suburban areas on the Northeast side of the county voted Democrat.
Two maps provided by the Houston Chronicle of the 2016 and 2012 voting trends in Ft. Bend show that general voting trends remained the same, but more areas in Northeast lit up as Democrat-favored areas than in the 2012 election.
The United States Census Bureau cited in its 2015 census of the Fort Bend County population that the county grew by 22% from 2010. ABC 13 Eyewitness News reporter Kevin Quinn cited Fort Bend County Judge Hebert as having brought up “the county’s diverse population, which includes over 140 thousand first and second generation immigrants” as a possible reason for Clinton’s win in the county. The 2015 United States Census showed Fort Bend population consisting 26% of foreign-born residents, a demographic that exit polls done by CNN show were much more likely to vote for Clinton than Trump.