Republicans Are Trying To Cancel More Than 100,000 Votes in a Deep Blue Part of Texas
More than 100,000 votes already cast in Houston could be invalidated on the eve of the election, if a federal court looks favorably on a last-minute lawsuit filed by Texas Republicans.
The lawsuit, filed in federal district court on Wednesday, argues that Harris County, Texas, violated state election law by allowing anyone to use so-called “curbside voting”; the suit seeks to invalidate all the votes cast at the county’s 10 drive-through polling stations. The case will be heard on Monday by Judge Andrew Hanan, a George W. Bush appointee with a controversial history on the federal bench.
Under Texas law, the only people eligible to use curbside or drive-through voting are individuals with disabilities who otherwise cannot haul themselves into a polling place. Because Texas also places strict limitations on who can request an absentee ballot—and state officials declined to expand that eligibility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic—Harris County opted to use drive-through voting as a way to let residents cast ballots while maintaining social distancing. (The county is also running drive-through absentee ballot drop-off stations, but those are not subject to this lawsuit.)
State election officials had previously signaled that Harris County’s drive-through voting plans were legally permissible. A Republican effort to block the drive-through voting stations was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court earlier this month, and the state Supreme Court on Sunday rejected an attempt to get those votes thrown out.
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