Texas Supreme Court Denies Republican Effort To Toss Nearly 127,000 Ballots

Written by on November 1, 2020

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court docket on Sunday denied a Republican-led petition to toss practically 127,000 ballots solid at drive-thru voting locations within the Houston space.

The state’s all-Republican excessive court docket rejected the request from a state consultant and two GOP candidates with out explaining its determination. Their effort to have the Harris County ballots thrown out continues to be set to be taken up throughout an emergency listening to in federal court docket on Monday.

Conservative Texas activists have railed in opposition to expanded voting entry in Harris County, the place a document 1.four million early votes have already been solid. The county is the nation’s third largest and a vital battleground in Texas, the place President Donald Trump and Republicans are bracing for the closest election in a long time on Tuesday.

U.S. District Decide Andrew Hanen is predicted to rule on the identical challenge on Monday. Hanen’s determination to listen to arguments on the point of Election Day drew consideration from voting rights activists. The Texas Supreme Court docket additionally rejected an almost equivalent problem final month.

Conservative GOP activists have filed a battery of court docket challenges over strikes to broaden voting choices in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges haven’t concerned President Donald Trump’s marketing campaign.

Trump gained Texas by 9 factors in 2016 however polls have proven Democrat Joe Biden nonetheless inside attain in America’s largest pink state. Democrats additionally have to flip solely 9 seats to reclaim a majority within the Texas Home for the primary time in 20 years, and have aggressively focused a number of races in Harris County.

Harris County has supplied 10 drive-thru places the place its practically 5 million residents can solid ballots of their automobiles as an alternative of going inside polling facilities. The lodging goals to stop transmission of the coronavirus. Jared Woodfill, a former chairman of the Harris County GOP, argued that Texas election legislation makes no express allowances for drive-thru voting and that solely voters who want help are eligible to solid a poll curbside.

Woodfill’s lawsuit additionally famous that each one however one of many drive-thru facilities have been arrange “in Democrat areas of the county.” Greater than 40% of Harris County residents are Latino, and about one in 5 residents are Black.

Counting the drive-thru votes, Woodfill argued, would “name into query the integrity and legality of a federal election.”

The Texas Supreme Court docket, which is managed solely by Republicans, rejected an equivalent lawsuit final month. Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, who runs the county’s elections, had requested Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to affirm that the drive-thru places are authorized however obtained no response.

Texas is one in all simply 5 states that didn’t enable for widespread mail-in voting this yr in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed practically 18,000 individuals statewide. Abbott as an alternative expanded early voting by one week, and that additional time helped Texas already surpass 2016′s complete votes even earlier than Tuesday’s election.

Greater than 9.7 million individuals have solid early ballots in Texas, the place turnout sometimes ranks among the many lowest within the nation. Some elections consultants predict that complete turnout in Texas might surpass 12 million, and Harris County officers have taken extra steps than most to broaden voting entry.

The county tripled the variety of polling locations and final week had eight places that stayed open for 24 hours.

Related Press writers Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas, and Nomaan Service provider in Houston contributed to this report.


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