Early voting has begun across Texas for the November 3 general election and continues through October 30. By most accounts, turnout is off to a torrid start. The Harris Co. Clerk’s office tweeted that 128K people voted in person today, plus 41K absentee ballots received to date, easily the highest single-day total in county history. In 2016, the first day of early voting saw 129K combined in-person and absentee ballots.

In Travis Co., 36K voted in person today (Tuesday), roughly the same as in 2016, and another 23K absentee ballots were received up to and including today, more than double the 2016 number.

Hidalgo Co. reported its first-day turnout exceeded 2016 by 1.5K votes. Denton County Judge Andy Eads (R) tweeted in-person first-day turnout (36K) was more than double the first day of 2016 (17K). Turnout in Lubbock Co. was around 25% more than the first day in 2016.

In Dallas Co., 58K people voted in person today, roughly the same as the first day of 2016.

HD52 (Lean Democratic): Rep. James Talarico’s (D-Round Rock) campaign released a new ad, “A Teacher in the House,” focusing on education.

HD102 (Lean Democratic): Former Rep. Linda Koop’s (R-Dallas) campaign released a new ad criticizing Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Dallas) for being the lone nay vote on legislation related to kids’ lemonade stands.

Ana-Maria Ramos was the only member out of 181 Texas legislators to vote against allowing kids to run lemonade stands.

Posted by Linda Koop on Monday, October 12, 2020

HD138 open (Lean Democratic): The campaign of Democratic nominee Akilah Bacy released an internal poll showing her leading Republican nominee Lacey Hull, 47%-40%. The Democrat-aligned Public Policy Polling survey was in the field October 6-7 and has a ±4.6% margin of error.

Reform Austin Polls: Reform Austin News released the toplines of a poll conducted in 22 state House districts, 17 of which are currently held by Republicans. Democratic incumbents and candidates lead in 16 of them, leading to a potential gain of 11 seats – enough to secure a majority in the chamber.

Results of the individual polls are shown below:

  • HD26 open – Sarah DeMerchant (D) leads Jacey Jetton, 50%-44%
  • HD28 – Rep. Gary Gates (R-Rosenberg) leads Eliz Markowitz, 47%-45%
  • HD45 – Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) leads Carrie Isaac, 54%-39%
  • HD54 – Keke Williams (D) leads Rep. Brad Buckley (R-Salado), 54%-38%
  • HD64 – Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Sanger) leads Angela Brewer, 47%-43%
  • HD65 – Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) leads Kronda Thimesch, 50%-39%
  • HD66 – Sharon Hirsch (D) leads Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), 48%-46%
  • HD67 – Lorenzo Sanchez (D) leads Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Allen), 46%-44%
  • HD92 open – Jeff Cason (R) leads Jeff Whitfield, 50%-38%
  • HD93 – Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) leads Lydia Bean, 46%-45%
  • HD94 – Alisa Simmons (D) leads Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington), 45%-43%
  • HD96 open – Joe Drago (D) leads David Cook, 43%-38%
  • HD97 – Elizabeth Beck (D) leads Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), 53%-40%
  • HD102 – Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Dallas) leads former Rep. Linda Koop (R-Dallas), 54%-42%
  • HD108 – Joanna Cattanach (D) leads Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), 55%-36%
  • HD112 – Brandy Chambers (D) leads Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Garland), 47%-43%
  • HD121 – Rep. Steve Allison (R-San Antonio) leads Celina Montoya, 49%-41%
  • HD126 – Rep. Sam Harless (R-Spring) leads Natali Hurtado, 49%-43%
  • HD132 – Rep. Gina Calanni (D-Katy) leads former Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy), 50%-40%
  • HD134 – Ann Johnson (D) leads Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston), 57%-31%
  • HD135 – Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston) leads Justin Ray, 48%-39%; and
  • HD138 open – Akilah Bacy (D) leads Lacey Hull, 43%-42%.

Most of these numbers are within the individual polls’ roughly ±4.9% margin of error. No crosstabs or demographic splits were provided.

PRES: A new Morning Consult poll shows President Trump leading Democratic challenger Joe Biden, 49%-47%. Consistent with its past polls, no additional information or demographic splits were released.

SEN: That same Morning Consult poll shows U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) leading Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar, 47%-38%.

Cornyn’s campaign released a new ad, “Problem,” highlighting Sen. Royce West’s (D-Dallas) comment that he would not vote for Hegar.

In a statement, West said he was “voting for Democrats on my ballot from the White House to the courthouse.”

CD10 (Toss Up): An internal poll conducted for Democratic challenger Mike Siegel shows him trailing U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Austin), 47%-45%. President Trump leads Joe Biden in the district, 48%-47%. The GBAO poll of 400 likely voters was in the field October 8-11 and has a ±4.9% margin of error.

Ballot Drop-off Locations: A panel of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay allowing Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting counties to a single absentee ballot drop-off location to stand. The Court issued an emergency stay over the weekend following a lower court ruling barring enforcement of the order.

“The proclamation is part of the 40-day expansion of Texans’ opportunities to hand-deliver absentee ballots beyond what state election rules normally permit,” the opinion states. “These methods for remote voting outstrip what Texas law previously permitted in a pre-COVID world. The October 1 proclamation abridges no one’s right to vote.”

Section 86.006, Election Code permits voters to deliver their absentee ballots to the early voting clerk’s office – a single location – “only while the polls are open on Election Day.” In July, Abbott extended the return period by 40 days, ending with Election Day.

Drive-through Voting: The Republican Party of Texas filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Harris Co. Clerk Chris Hollins from operating 10 drive-through voting locations. The suit contends that the Election Code places strict eligibility limits on curbside voting. Hollins’s office operated a drive-through location during the July runoff as a pilot program.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC