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The Texas Supreme Court vacated a Third Court of Appeals decision removing three Green Party candidates from the ballot and ordered a halt to the Harris County Clerk’s plan to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters.

In the Green Party suit, the Court directed the Secretary of State to “immediately take all necessary actions to ensure these candidates appear” on the ballot.

U.S. Senate nominee David Collins, RRC nominee Kat Gruene and CD21 nominee Tom Wakely were ruled ineligible because they did not pay newly required filing fees that historically applied only to candidates nominated in primary elections, ostensibly to pay for the costs of those elections. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals recently ruled upheld the fees. A federal challenge is awaiting a bench trial.

The Secretary of State’s office advised counties to add the candidates to ballots – which would be required in all 254 counties – and to send corrected ballots to any voters for whom absentee ballots have already been sent. Federal law requires ballots for some overseas absentee voters to be mailed no later than Saturday.

State law permits a “defective” absentee ballot to be counted if a corrected ballot is not returned in time.

The suit was filed by the Texas Democratic Party and candidates a few days before the deadline to remove a candidate’s name from the ballot. A suit seeking to remove 44 Libertarian Candidates from the ballot was filed too late by the Republican Party and candidates.

In the Harris Co. suit, the Supreme Court said Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins “is ordered not to send or cause to be sent any unsolicited mail-in ballot applications … until further order from this Court.” The order overturns a lower court ruling permitting Hollins to proceed.

SD30 special (Safe Republican): Early voting continues for the September 29 special election to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper). About 2,400 people have voted in person or by mail as of yesterday (Monday), the first day of the early voting period.

SEN: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) and Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar will participate in a televised debate on October 9. Nexstar Broadcasting will host the debate in Austin and will broadcast it live on 15 Texas stations and online. Hegar has also agreed to two other debates, one in Dallas hosted by WFAA-TV and and another hosted by Spectrum News to be aired on TEGNA stations across the state. Cornyn has indicated a willingness to debate Hegar more than once.

CD22 open (Toss Up): The campaign of Democratic nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni released a new ad, “Patriotism,” highlighting COVID responses.

Denton: The Dallas Morning News endorsed council member Gerard Hudspeth for mayor. Term-limited incumbent Mayor Chris Watts is running for SD30.

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