SD14 special: Travis Co. officials counted an additional 1,308 absentee ballots. About 1K provisional ballots await further action by the people who voted them. Former Travis Co. Judge Sarah Eckhardt (D) inched closer to a majority vote but remains below 50%. She is a net 391 votes shy of an outright win as she stands at 49.7% of the vote. Eckhardt won 51% of the vote in Travis Co. but only 31% in Bastrop Co.

If the results hold, she will face Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) in the runoff.

Absentee Ballot Suit: The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has expedited the Texas Democratic Party’s lawsuit seeking to expand eligibility to vote by mail. Oral arguments are scheduled for the week of August 31. In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ request to reinstate a lower court injunction permitting any registered voter to obtain an absentee ballot.

Voting Procedure Suit: Mi Familia Vota and the Texas chapter of the NAACP filed suit in federal court (pdf) seeking to modify in-person voting procedures “to ensure that polling sites are safe and of low risk to the health of all registered voters.” Among the policy changes requested are two additional weeks of early voting, all poll workers and voters must wear masks, restore mobile early voting locations, expand curbside voting eligibility, paper ballot options and prohibit closure of polling places on Election Day.

Republican Convention: U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ordered the city of Houston to make the George R. Brown Convention Center available to the Republican Party of Texas this weekend and next weekend so it may conduct is state convention in person. The party opened its virtual convention earlier this week and has experienced technical difficulties. It nonetheless intends to resume its virtual meeting tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

“Immediate redundancy became a key objective,” said state chairman James Dickey in a statement. “I was invited to join this lawsuit and took the opportunity to provide a last-resort method in person if we needed it to secure our national election obligations.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city would appeal the decision.

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