A federal judge in Texas has shot down the state Republican Party’s lawsuit that sought to toss out 127,000 legally cast ballots that were submitted at drive-in polling places in Harris County, which are legal under state law.
Southern District Court of Texas Houston Division Judge Andrew Hanen, whom George W. Bush appointed in 2002, delivered an oral ruling, NBC News reported Monday afternoon.
The plaintiffs can appeal Hanon’s decision to the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals. President Donald Trump has filled five judicial vacancies on the court – out of 17 seats in total – with his own appointees in his first term alone.
The Texas Supreme Court rejected the a nearly identical case on Sunday.
Curbside voting, which is typcally provided to people with disabilities, the elderly, or those who risk harm by voting in person, has been expanded as a safe way to cast a ballot, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plaintiffs argued that “a voter’s general fear or lack of immunity from COVID-19 is not a ‘disability’ as defined by the Election Code.”
A majority of the disputed ballots were from precincts won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, demonstrating once again that the GOP is pulling out all the stops to rig the election for Trump by attempting to disenfranchise Democratic voters, especially those residing in large cities, and many of whom are people of color.
Christina Ford, the attorney representing the Democratic Parties that joined the defendants, contended that invaldating legally-cast ballots would result in “mass confusion” and spark a “frantic situation with voters trying to figure out if they could cast a provisional ballot.”
Ford added: “Plaintiffs argue that drive-thru voting would result in fraud and corruption. There’s no evidence of that.”
The state agrees.
“Drive-Thru Voting is a safe, secure and convenient way to vote. Texas Election Code allows it, the Secretary of State approved it, and 127,000 voters from all walks of life have used it,” Harry County Clerk Chris Hollins said over the weekend.
Texas and its 38 Electoral College votes has become a swing state in this year’s election cycle. The Lone Star State last went blue for President Jimmy Carter in 1976. If Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden scores an upset victory over Trump, it would instantly reshape the national political landscape, and it would strike a potentially irreconcilable blow to the Republican Party’s chances of winning the presidency in 2024 and in future elections.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.