ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Democrats and Republicans had the same message on the only weekend of early voting in Texas: Get out and vote.
Rallies around the state Saturday coincided with skyrocketing early voting tallies. Through Thursday, more than 1.1 million Texans had voted in the 15 most populous counties. That's compared with 655,265 four years ago, according to figures released yesterday by the Secretary of State's Office.
Art Railsback is a computer analyst from south of Austin. He showed up at the 620 Cafe and Bakery north of Austin in Round Rock to bring visiting family to lunch. The conservative Republican was pleased to see the get-out-the-vote rally and grabbed some McCain/Palin yard signs while he was there.
In Houston, elected officials took their message to neighborhood beauty salons, bakeries and restaurants, encouraging unsuspecting patrons to vote early.
Carol Alvarado is a Democratic state candidate for the state Legislature. She says the higher turnout is a result of voters trying to take control of their destiny during turbulent economic times.
In North Texas, churchgoers planned Sunday to caravan to one of five Dallas polling locations during a voter mobilization project being touted as "Super Sunday." Several area megachurches were scheduled to participate, including Bishop T.D. Jakes' The Potter's House.