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Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to compel the early voting clerks of Cameron, Dallas, El Paso, Harris and Travis Cos. to reject requests for a ballot by mail “based solely on the generalized risk of contracting a virus.”

District Judge Tim Sulak (D) ruled in April that Travis Co. Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir could not reject an application filed on the basis of COVID-19. He determined it was “reasonable to conclude that voting in person while the virus that causes COVID-19 is still in general circulation presents a likelihood of injuring [voters’] health, and any voters without established immunity meet the plain language definition of disability.” Paxton appealed that ruling to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals. Briefs are due in that case by May 29.

“Each misapplication of Texas election law damages the integrity of our elections and increases the risk of voter fraud,” Paxton said in a statement. “In-person voting is the surest way to prevent voter fraud and guarantee that every voter is who they claim to be and has a fair opportunity to cast their vote.”

SD14 special: Six candidates filed for the July 14 special election for SD14:

  • Austin attorney Waller Thomas Burns II (R)
  • Former Lago Vista council member Pat Dixon (L)
  • Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt (D)
  • Austin physician Jeff Ridgeway (I)
  • Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin); and
  • Former Austin council member Don Zimmerman (R).

Burns initially filed as an independent. His switch to Republican prevents Zimmerman from being the lone Republican on the ballot.

CD4: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) said he expects the Senate Intelligence Committee to confirm U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-Heath) nomination as Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday. Cornyn said the full Senate may hold a confirmation vote as early as the following week.

The Congressional District Executive Committee for CD4, comprised of Republican county and precinct chairs within the district, will select a replacement nominee for the 2020 general election ballot at an August 8 meeting. Ratcliffe’s former district director Jason Ross, former CD32 Republican candidate Floyd McLendon and former CD18 candidate T.C. Manning are believed to be interested in the seat.

Ratcliffe’s departure would also trigger a special election to fill the remainder of his current term. The likeliest date for that election is November 3, which is the next uniform election date.

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