Early voting continued today (Thursday), the third day of the early voting period, for the November 3 general election.

Voter counts provided to and reported by the Secretary of State remain incomplete and, in some cases, erroneous. It appears that at least 1.75M Texans had voted through yesterday (Wednesday), and reports of turnout indicated no slowdown in voting today. It is possible that as many as 2.5M Texans – nearing 15% of registered voters – have already cast ballots.

In Harris Co., more than 100K people voted in person for the third consecutive day, bringing the combined in-person and absentee vote total to nearly 400K.

Slightly more than nine out of every 10 early voters through yesterday have previous voting history, according to Republican strategist and data nerd Derek Ryan’s analysis of 30 of the state’s largest counties. The largest bloc of voters in his analysis was Democratic primary voters (34%), followed by Republican primary voters (30%) and general election voters with no primary history (22%). Ryan cautions – as do we – that the demographics are skewed by absentee voting and will shift, likely significantly, as more votes come in. For now, the bottom line is that the vast majority of early voters to date are simply voting a little earlier than usual.

Democrats seem to be voting a little earlier than Republicans. Two out of every five voters who have participated in the last four Democratic primary elections have already voted. About a quarter of “Four Rs” have already voted. Historically, more than 95% of each group will cast a ballot.

SC5 (2022): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) appointed former appellate judge Rebeca Huddle to the Texas Supreme Court, filling the vacancy created by Justice Paul Green’s (R) retirement. She will not face the voters until 2022, when she would presumably seek a full six-year term. Had Green announced his retirement 10 days sooner, this seat would have been on the ballot this year.

HD14 (Lean Republican): The Bryan-College Station Eagle endorsed Rep. John Raney (R-College Station).

HD92 open (Lean Republican): The Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Democratic nominee Jeff Whitfield.

SEN (Lean Republican): Democrat-aligned Senate Majority PAC announced it was booking $8.6M in advertising time to support Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar. In a filing, Texans for a Conservative Majority PAC indicated it was spending $948K on advertising opposing Hegar, bringing its total independent expenditures to $1.6M.

CD10 (Toss Up): Challenger Mike Siegel’s campaign released a new ad, “Lose My Vote,” starring a Republican voter who supports the Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul’s (R) campaign released a similarly themed ad, “Results,” featuring a Democratic voter who supports the Republican incumbent.

Absentee Ballot Drop-off Suit: State District Judge Tim Sulak (D) has issued an injunction barring enforcement of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting counties to a single absentee ballot drop-off location. This is a separate case from the one for which the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week issued a stay pending appeal, thus sustaining Abbott’s order.

The state is expected to appeal the decision directly to the Texas Supreme Court. Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton has already filed a notice of appeal, which stayed Sulak’s order.

Drive-through Voting Suit: The Texas and Harris Co. Republican Parties have petitioned the Texas Supreme Court seeking to close Harris County’s drive-through voting sites. Yesterday (Wednesday), a three-judge panel of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction.

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