Republican Dan Neil will take his battle for a Travis County seat in the Legislature to the full House to decide.
Neil, who narrowly lost on Election Day, first asked for a recount. When that was over, he was still losing to incumbent state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, by 12 votes. Now he's asking for what is formally called an election contest, with the full House making the final decision. Howard wasn't impressed and issued this statement: "There is no doubt this was an incredibly close race, but the Travis County Clerk’s office ran a clean election and a recount that included observers from both sides who confirmed the result. There is no question about the final outcome in the race for HD 48, and it is time to accept the majority vote."
But he and his supporters think he should have been given the straight-ticket votes on overseas ballots. Travis County election officials say those votes only count in statewide races, whether down-ballot races are on the ballots or not. Neil contests that and says enough votes are at stake in that argument to swing the election his way. His side also says 1,900 felons might have been allowed to vote in the election. That's legal in some states, but not in this one. [Editor's note: Felons get to start voting again after they've been pardoned or have served out their sentences.]
If Howard prevails, the House will have 101 Republicans and 49 Democrats. A Neil win would make it 102-48.