Rice Stadium part of record turnout on first day of early voting

Rice Stadium is serving as a polling location for Harris County residents.

Photo by Jeff Fitlow

Harris County voters turned out in record numbers for the first day of early voting in Texas, Oct. 13. Nearly 128,000 votes were cast across the county, almost doubling the previous record of 68,000 on the first day in 2016.

In another historic first, Rice Stadium is serving as a polling location for Harris County residents. The stadium will be open to voters through Nov. 3 except for Oct. 23 and 24, when the polling location will move to Reckling Park to accommodate the Owls’ 2020 football season opener.

Voters began queuing around the stadium starting at sunrise, including Rice President David Leebron, who shared a photo of the line on Twitter. This year, Rice’s polling location is staffed entirely by students and overseen by election judge Mason Reece, a Hanszen College junior.

Voters standing in line were also treated to free hot meals courtesy of chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen, founded in 2010 to bring food to those in need. Knowing that voting lines across the country would be long this year, Andres and his team deployed to a number of cities including Houston to provide fresh food for those waiting to exercise their rights.

“Rice University in Houston!” Andres wrote on Twitter. “Amazing turnout across Texas today for first early voting day!”

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.