It’s official: Houston federal judge decides 127,000 votes count


Drive-through voting. Getty Images

HOUSTON (CW39) A federal judge has rejected a GOP attempt to throw out 127K ballots in the Houston area at a drive-thru polling location.

The only drive-through voting location is the Toyota Center downtown.

Just yesterday, the Texas Supreme Court rejected the request from GOP activists and candidates. The final effort to have the Harris County ballots thrown out took place Monday in downtown Houston after an emergency hearing was scheduled in federal court.  

GOP activists and candidates had asked the state’s highest civil court to invalidate and rule against drive-through voting locations in Harris County. They’ve also asked that the votes already cast, to be considered illegal and reject the drive-through 127K drive-thru votes.

Federal judge denies GOP effort to toss 127,000 votes in Texas

Today in Houston, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, Congressman Al Green, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and members of the Gulf Coast Area Federation, AFL-CIO are expected to respond to the decision, which democrats call a “last-ditch voter suppression tactic by Republicans.”


Local congressional leaders sounded off about the highly anticipated decision:

“In the middle of the ongoing pandemic, County Judge Lina Hidalgo and County Clerk Chris Hollins have worked diligently to make voting easy and safe for voters all across Harris County. Yet, Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton, and other Republican officials have fought us tooth and nail to suppress voter turnout in Harris County and across the state. Now, in a desperate last-ditch effort the day before the election, Republicans are trying to invalidate the will of 127,000 voters who took advantage of drive-thru voting in Harris County. We are going to fight this blatant voter suppression tactic because in the middle of a pandemic we should not be forcing people to choose between their health and their vote.”

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia

“I stand up to fight for the approximately 127,000 voters, regardless of their political affiliation, who cast ballots at drive-thru polling locations across Harris County. These voters cast their ballots in good faith. They did not establish this system. They merely participated in the system that was made available to them. Their votes must be counted. Not counting these ballots would be the epitome of voter disenfranchisement. This is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is about preserving the right of every eligible voter to not only exercise their right to vote but to ensure their vote is counted.” 

Congressman Green

“This lawsuit seeks to disenfranchise more than 100,000 voters here in Harris County,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “People should be able to cast their ballots easily and safely, especially during a pandemic, and to trust that their votes will be counted. The unending efforts of Republican operatives to undermine the rights of voters are telling.”

Congresswoman Fletcher

“The precious right to vote is every citizen’s birthright in the United States. This massive effort of voter suppression is an attempt to crush the very essence of democracy, which is a free and unfettered society that allows a person to vote for the candidate of their choosing. It is crucial that the courts uphold the laws of this land and the stated constitutional rights of all citizens which is the protection of their voting rights. Nothing in the constitution supports lawsuits that would disenfranchise voters and shut down our voting rights.”

Congresswoman Jackson-Lee

“Like others, many union members chose to vote drive-through because they wanted to minimize exposure to COVID-19. No one should have their vote thrown away because they were looking out for the health of themselves, their families, and communities. Their votes count and their votes must be counted.”

Hany Khalil, Executive Director of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation

Conservative Texas activists have railed against expanded voting access in Harris County, where a record 1.4 million early votes have already been cast.

The county is the nation’s third largest and a crucial battleground in Texas, where President Donald Trump and Republicans are bracing for the closest election in decades tomorrow.

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