Four months ago, the Texas Secretary of State approved drive-thru voting, informing Harris County (we’re talking Houston) election officials that they could use it for the general election.
Now, after over 117,000 voters in the heavily Democratic county have used the process, Texas Republicans have asked a federal judge to declare the practice ‘unconstitutional’ and throw out all of those ballots.
From Mark Joseph Stern at Slate:
Because Texas strictly limits mail-in voting, Harris County—which has a population of over 4.7 million people—has sought to make in-person voting safer during the pandemic. Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, who runs the county’s elections, established 10 drive-thru voting locations for the 2020 general election.
Drivers pull into a large tent, where election officials confirm their identity, then give them privacy to vote. The process has proved wildly popular.
Harris County raised the idea of drive-thru voting in June, and Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs promptly approved it. The county tested it in July and approved it in August. Yet Republicans did not contest drive-thru voting in court until Oct. 15, two days after the start of early voting.
On that day, the Harris County Republican Party, joined by several GOP operatives, asked the Texas Supreme Court to halt drive-thru voting. The court, which is entirely Republican, refused, over a single dissent.
So Republicans ran to federal court. On Wednesday, they asked U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to declare drive-thru voting unconstitutional and void every ballot cast this way.
Judge Hanen has scheduled an emergency hearing on Monday.
Over 117,000 Texans cast their votes via drive-thru venues because it was approved. Now, Texas Republicans want those votes thrown out a day before the election?
Judge Hanen has already scheduled an emergency hearing for Monday morning—without even giving Harris County a chance to file a response brief. This, too, is extremely concerning. It looks like he may be rushing to throw out 100,000 disproportionately Democratic votes.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) October 31, 2020