Republicans were dealt a major blow Monday when a federal judge rejected another last-ditch effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-thru polling centers. The centers were established during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit was brought by conservative Texas activists who have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, which is home to nearly 5 million residents. There were a total of 10 drive-thru locations offered in the county. An estimated 20,000 or more voters are expected to use drive-thru polling locations Tuesday, said Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, the county's top elections official.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's decision to hear arguments on the brink of Election Day drew concern from voting rights activists, and came after the Texas Supreme Court rejected a nearly identical challenge over the weekend, Yahoo reported.
Jared Woodfill, a former chairman of the Harris County GOP, argued that Texas election law makes no explicit allowances for drive-thru voting and framed it is as an unlawful expansion of curbside voting, which is legal in Texas but limited to people who are unable to enter polling places because of their health. Woodfill argued that all but one of the drive-thru centers were set up "in Democrat areas of the county."
More than 40 percent of Harris County residents are Latino, and about one in five residents are Black.