The validity of 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru voting sites in Harris County is no longer in question, following a failed effort by a group of Republicans to challenge it in state and federal court.
On Monday, a federal appeals court refused to reverse a district court judge’s decision that the drive-thru ballots cast during early voting could be counted. Prof. Steven Vladeck, Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law, told Texas Standard that the three-judge panel said, essentially, that the plaintiffs’ case didn’t have any “standing.”
“That they’re not allowed to bring this lawsuit,” Vladeck said.
But that decision only applied to drive-thru votes made during early voting. Harris County could face legal challenges against drive-thru voting in the future, so officials closed nine out of the county’s 10 drive-thru voting sites. The one site still in operation is in a garage attached to a building, not a temporary tent, which could make all the difference if it’s challenged in court.
“According to Harris County clerk, the 10th location, the trailers that are still open [there], is because the drive-thru voting there is in the garage. And, you know, I think no matter how we’re going to read the Texas election law, the garage is part of the building,” Vladeck said.