It's been a swift start to early voting in the March 4 Primary.

By late Thursday afternoon, 384 people had already cast early ballots, and by Friday afternoon, that number skyrocketed to nearly 600.

"I expected this type of turnout because of the local races," said Elections Clerk Sara Caudle.

Several high-profile races are credited for driving voters to the polls.

Longtime County Court at Law Judge Bart McDougal is facing a fierce challenge by local attorney Blake Thompson.

In the three-way race for precinct 4, incumbent Scot Jackson faces a challenge from Shane Stegall and Billy Van Diest, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Herbert Brown faces a challenge from Albert Ray.

In the race for state representative, incumbent J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville is working hard to fend off a challenge by Danny Pelton of Erath County.

Sheffield is looking to get re-elected to his second term after unseating Sid Miller in 2012.

This is the last week of early voting. Polls will be open from 1-4 p.m. today at the Erath County Courthouse and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the courthouse and Dublin Annex.