November 2, 2020
The Texas Supreme Court has struck down Monday an effort led by Republicans to toss out 127,000 ballots in the Lone Star State’s largest county.
The court, comprised entirely of Republicans, according to The Hill, decided to strike down an attempt by GOP candidates and activists, who were the plaintiffs, to toss over 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru early-voting sites from Harris County, which contains the city of Houston.
The county set up 10 of these drive-thru voting stations, where voters have the ability to remain in the comfort and safety of their vehicles while they vote to avoid coming into contact with many people inside of a traditional polling site and possibly contracting the novel coronavirus.
Fox News reported that, as of Friday, these 127,000 ballots amounted to 9% of all the votes cast so far in Harris County, with the county having 2.4 million eligible voters.
According to Popular Information journalist Judd Legum, the reason for why the court struck this down is because, in the judge’s view, the “plaintiffs didn’t articulate a specific injury, which is required for standing.”
It is important to note, however, that a federal judge on Monday will have an emergency meeting with the same group of GOP plaintiffs as part of a separate lawsuit about this same issue. Thus, this issue regarding drive-thru voting sites may not be an entirely closed-and-shut case.
The plaintiffs argue that these drive-thru sites defy the U.S. Constitution as well as Texas election laws. According to the state laws, per The Hill, curbside voting is permitted for those with disabilities in Harris County. However, all voters are allowed to vote at these drive-thru stations. The plaintiffs claim that this should be restricted only to those with disabilities.
The battle for Texas is hot this election, as demographic trends and increased Democratic voter-registration efforts in the state have pushed the crown jewel of the Republicans’ electoral wall toward swing-state status over the course of many elections.
Incumbent GOP President Donald Trump won the state by nine points in 2016. In the 2018 U.S. Senate election, Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) lost to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) by less than three points. As of Monday, FiveThirtyEight’s polling average places Trump at 48.5% and former Vice President Joe Biden at 47.5% in the state.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.