Big counties surpass 2004 total for early voting

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Early voting has topped 2.7 million ballots in the 15 biggest Texas counties, easily surpassing the 2.4 million early votes cast in the 2004 presidential election.

The number comes from the Secretary of State's Office, which tracks early voting in the state's big 15 counties.

Election Day is Tuesday.

Meanwhile, voter rights groups are watching the way polling sites are being run throughout the state, and in some cases complaining about it.

The Texas NAACP says it's launching an "election protection program" to ensure that no impediments to voting are placed in front of eligible voters.

NAACP officials also said they are working with Secretary of State Hope Andrade to ensure that Hurricane Ike victims displaced from Galveston County get to vote.

A Democratic state lawmaker from Beaumont wrote to Adrade this week, complaining that his electronic voting machine showed him voting for two Republican judges that he didn't chose.

Lawmakers says some Texas-based soldiers are experiencing problems casting their ballots due to delayed battlefield mail deliveries and shifting positions of combat forces, among other reasons.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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