A group of Texas Republicans sued in an attempt to throw out more than 120,000 ballots cast at drive-through voting locations in a Democratic-leaning district, Politico reports.
Three Republican candidates and a conservative activist filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-through locations set up by Harris County, which includes Houston, arguing that they were not expressly permitted by the state’s curbside voting law, which is limited to voters with illnesses and disabilities.
The lawsuit also seeks to bar the use of drive-through locations on Election Day.
The lawsuit will be heard by a conservative federal judge after the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court rejected the same lawsuit on Sunday.
Conservative judge to hear case:
Conservative George W. Bush appointee Judge Andrew Hanen will hear the case at an emergency hearing on Monday.
Hanen’s assignment to the case drew concerns from Democrats. Hanen previously ruled against former President Barack Obama’s expansion of the DACA program in 2015.
But Politico noted that invalidating votes is a longshot, though conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggested the court may invalidate some late-arriving mail ballots after the election.
“The Court’s denial of the motion to expedite is not a denial of a request for this Court to order that ballots received after Election Day be segregated so that if the State Supreme Court’s decision is ultimately overturned, a targeted remedy will be available,” Alito said in a case surrounding Pennsylvania’s late-arriving ballots.
Democrats reject lawsuit claims:
Attorneys for Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, argued that the lawsuit seeks to undermine the election.
“There are more than 125,000 horses out of the barn,” the attorneys said. “These voters cast ballots for candidates of both political parties in good-faith and justified reliance on the legality of the drive-through polling places.”
The lawsuit also asked the judge to segregate ballots so they could be invalidated later if found to be impermissible. Hollins’ lawyers said that would undermine voter confidence in the election.
“They would be left to wonder whether their votes would be counted. Confidence in the democratic process would be shaken,” they said.