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Travis County judge says Texas counties can have multiple absentee ballot drop-off sites, but an appeal is likely
(Amna Ijaz/The Texas Tribune)

The Travis County Tax Office at 5501 Airport Blvd is now the only drive-thru location open for hand delivery of mail-in ballots in the county.

A Travis County state district judge on Thursday ordered a halt to Gov. Greg Abbott's directive limiting Texas counties to one drop-off location for hand delivery of absentee ballots. The ruling is the latest turn in a handful of lawsuits in state and federal courts challenging Abbott's Oct. 1 order, which shut down multiple ballot drop-off locations in Harris and Travis counties.


On Monday, a federal appeals court upheld the Republican governor's order under federal law, overturning a lower court's ruling. The Travis County decision, however, applies to potential violations of state law.

A Texas-based Anti-Defamation League, voting rights advocacy group and a voter filed the lawsuit in Travis County district court last week arguing that the governor doesn't have authority under state law to limit absentee ballot delivery locations. The lawsuit also claimed Abbott's order violates voters' equal protection rights under the state constitution.

In a short order Thursday, Travis County District Judge Tim Sulak ruled against Abbott and the Texas secretary of state.

"The limitation to a single drop-off location for mail ballots would likely needlessly and unreasonably increase risks of exposure to COVID-19 infections, and needlessly and unreasonably substantially burden potential voters' constitutionally protected rights to vote, as a consequence of increased travel and delays, among other things," Sulak wrote.

It's unclear if and when additional mail-in ballot drop-off locations might be re-opened. Travis County had four drop-off locations before the Oct. 1 order, and Harris County had a dozen in place. But the decision is expected to quickly be appealed to a higher state court.

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Kitten shower, Mimosa Fest and crawfish galore: What to do in Austin this weekend

(Carolyn Broussard)


🎨 ART04 Studio Tour

Tour some of Austin’s diverse creatives as they open their studios. Metal Sculptor Barry George will donate part of his proceeds to the Save Our Springs Alliance.

Starting at 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday | Thornton Road Studios, 2309 Thornton Rd.

🥃 5th annual Texas Whiskey Festival

Sip your way across Texas by tasting more than 100 whiskeys, meet the people from the 36 distilleries who made them and sing along to Piano Punch dueling pianos. Tickets start at $89 and visitors must be 21 to attend.

Starting 6 p.m. Friday or 5:30 p.m. Saturday | Star Hill Ranch, 15000 Hamilton Pool Rd.

🐱 AHS 8th Annual Kitten Shower

The Austin Humane Society is bringing back its 8th annual Kitten Shower, featuring children’s activities, a bake-off competition, kitten yoga, a kitten donation drive and local vendors. Admission is free.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday | Austin Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane

🌏 CelebrASIA 2022

Celebrating Asian American Pacific American heritage month, CelebrASIA is returning with live music, activities for all ages and local food vendors. The event is free and open to the public.

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday | Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Rd.

🦞 Keep Austin Weird® Twist ‘N Snap Crawfish Boil

Over 10,000 lbs of crawfish—enough to go around—are guaranteed at Fiesta Gardens this weekend, plus extra bites from local restaurants. While you munch, enjoy games; live music from Calder Allen, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Zach Person and more. Tickets start at $14.99.

Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday | Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St.

🍷 Wild World Texas: A Natural Wine & Farmhouse Beer Festival

More than 200 different types of natural wines, beers and fermented foods in a salon-style tasting at Jester King this weekend. Plus, you can gaze at the farm’s goats all the while. Tickets start at $65 and visitors must be 21 to attend.

1-6:30 p.m. Saturday, 12-6:30 p.m. Sunday | Jester King Farm and Brewery, 13187 Fitzhugh Rd.

🍾 Mimosa Fest 2022

Celebrate National Mimosa Day a little early at Mimosa Fest 2022, at this “boozy, bougie, brunchy day party” perfect for the drink’s enthusiasts. Expect live music, food and all the mimosas your heart could desire. Tickets start at $45 and visitors must be 21 to attend.

11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday | Fair Market, 1100 E 5th St.

⚾️ Round Rock Express vs. Oklahoma City Dodgers

Catch our local Minor League play against the Oklahoma City Dodgers play at home this week. Tickets start at $10.1:05 p.m. Sunday | Dell Diamond, 3400 E Palm Valley Blvd.

⚽️ Austin FC vs. Real Salt Lake official watch party

Austin FC is facing Real Salt Lake in an away game this weekend, but true Verde fans can still support from home at the official watch party. Arrive early as space is limited.

Kickoff at 8:30 p.m. Sunday | The Pub, 214 W. 4th St. Suite A