The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton’s suit seeking to overturn the presidential election results in four other states. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” said the Court in an unsigned, one-page order (PDF).

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas would have permitted the case to go forward because, in their view, the Court lacks the discretion to refuse to hear a case falling within its original jurisdiction. Alito and Thomas have taken this position in previous orders rejecting an original jurisdiction matter, and their dissent here has nothing to do with the issues raised by the case.

Election Day: Tomorrow (Saturday) is runoff Election Day for several local jurisdictions including Houston, El Paso, Baytown and Laredo. We will not be providing live coverage but will report the results.

Early voting ended today (Friday) in jurisdictions holding runoff elections on Tuesday, including Austin, College Station, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Galveston and Odessa.

HD132, HD142: A Harris Co. grand jury has indicted three people who “sought to illegally influence” two races for the Texas House.

Richard Bonton, who opposed Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) in the 2020 primary, was indicted for allegedly conspiring to place a named Natasha Ruiz on the ballot. Bonton is charged with election fraud and tampering with government records, including documents filed on behalf of Natasha Demming, whose last name was changed to Ruiz in the documents to imply she was Latina. Demming was charged with two counts of tampering with a governmental record, perjury, election fraud and conspiracy to commit tampering with a governmental record.

Neither Bonton nor “Ruiz” gained enough support from voters to reach a runoff against Dutton, but he was instead forced into a runoff against Houston council member Jerry Davis.

Political consultant Damien Jones was indicted for coercion of a public servant and false caller identification in collection with allegedly sending at least one threatening text message to Rep. Gina Calanni (R-Katy) to coerce her not to seek re-election.

“Those indicted today crossed the line from dirty politics to criminal activity,” said Dist. Atty. Kim Ogg (D) in a statement.

None of the allegations involve voting or counting votes. Under Texas law, political parties are responsible for accepting applications and certifying candidates for their primary elections.

Redistricting: The U.S. Census Bureau announced its release of the 2020 geographic information system files – boundaries, not population data – would be delayed until January 22. They were expected to be released this week.

This will delay preparations by organizations like the Texas Legislative Council, which normally works through the Holidays with this key information, to assist states in the redistricting process. These files include census block boundaries and “crosswalks” which enable TLC to reallocate previous years’ data broken down by Census block or equivalent (TLC calls them “voting tabulation districts”) into the new blocks.

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