Harris County, Houston, voters protected after courts blocked makes an attempt by Texas Republicans to suppress voters
One attorney for the Conservative plaintiffs almost admitted the motive was voter repression, saying that if Harris County – home of Houston – voted for Biden, all of Texas could turn blue.
A federal judge has dismissed an attempt by Texas Republicans to invalidate more than 100,000 ballots cast in transit elections in and around Harris County.
US District Judge Andrew Hanen said the plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to file the lawsuit, according to CNBC.
Hanen’s decision, CNBC adds, is based “on the legal requirement” that any party filing a lawsuit must first prove that it has been harmed by a relevant act.
Shortly after Hanen’s verdict was published Monday, Republican agents said they would appeal the decision. That appeal, filed in the U.S. 5th Court of Appeals, called on a jury of appellate judges to issue an injunction against the drive-through vote on election day.
Jared Woodfill, an attorney for the plaintiffs, made it clear that the lawsuit is all about voter suppression. Shortly after Han’s decision, Woodfill said he would appeal “immediately”.
“If Harris County goes to Trump,” said Woodfill, “then we could lose Texas.”
“And if we lose Texas,” he continued, “we’ll lose the national elections.” For me this is ground zero. “
Had this been approved, the Conservative coalition’s move would have prevented the drive-through vote just hours before the start of the general election in Texas.
Postal voting for US soldiers. Image above: (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier). Public domain.
Part of the plaintiffs’ argument was based on the premise that Texas law requires votes to be cast in a building. While voters at transit locations would cast their ballots in tents that could house cars, SUVs, and motorcycles, Republicans questioned whether tents or other temporary structures could legally be considered buildings.
“By indiscriminately encouraging and allowing all registered voters in Harris County to cast their ballots via a roadside drive-through vote, the defendant is breaking both federal and state law and the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injuries if this occurs […] Action will not be stopped, “said the federal lawsuit.
However, the three-judge panel quickly rejected the request.
While drive-through votes are still allowed, the court’s confirmation may not make much of a difference to voters – the Texas Tribune notes that Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins has already announced nine of the ten planned drive-through votes of the County complete locations.
Hollins made his decision before the 5th Circle made their decision, saying that he wanted to ensure that any future ballots cast would continue to be counted, regardless of what the appellate body may have decided.
“My job is to protect the right to vote for all voters in Harris County, including those who will vote on election day,” Hollins wrote on Twitter. “I cannot, in good faith, encourage voters to cast their votes in tents if that endangers their votes.”
Despite his decision to close the transit locations as a precaution, Hollins has since praised Hanen and the decisions of the appellate court.
“We followed the electoral code to a ‘T.’ We worked with the Secretary of State to introduce drive-through voting, ”Hollins wrote online. “We know it’s legal, and not just safe and convenient.”
The judge rejects the GOP’s offer to cast 127,000 drive-through votes in Harris County, Texas
Nearly 127,000 drive-through votes in Harris County appear safe after the federal judge dismissed the GOP-led Texas lawsuit
The Texas Supreme Court opposes Republican-led efforts to cast nearly 127,000 Harris County votes