Judge rejects GOP attempt to toss 127,000 drive-thru ballots in Texas


A federal judge on Monday ruled against Republican plaintiffs who sought to throw out 127,000 ballots cast by drive-thru voting in a Democratic-leaning Texas county.

District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled Monday that the plaintiffs lacked standing in the case and that the votes in Harris County would stand.

The four plaintiffs, three of which are GOP candidates, had claimed the drive-thru polling stations were an illegal expansion of curbside voting, an option Texas makes available only to physically disabled voters.

"I'm not happy with that finding,” Hannen, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said. “But the way I look at it, the law requires it.”

The judge also said the plaintiffs had not filed the challenge in a timely manner, noting that the drive-thru polling option was announced over the summer.

The Texas Democratic Party hailed the decision in a statement but said it “never should have been an issue in the first place.”

“The ruling to let the nearly 127,000 drive-thru votes stand was the correct decision but it doesn’t change a simple fact: This should have never been an issue in the first place,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement.

“Texans who lawfully voted at drive-through locations should have never had to fear that their votes wouldn’t be counted and their voices wouldn’t be heard,” he added. “This lawsuit was shameful and it should have never seen the light of day.”

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins (D), the defendant in the challenge, offered a more succinct response, tweeting the “eyes” emoji as the decision was announced.

The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court previously rejected the plaintiffs’ challenge to drive-thru voting at the state level on Sunday.

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