Hours before the election, Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins moved to close down all but one drive-thru voting location in the greater Houston area. His decision came after a Republican-driven legal battle to throw out 127,000 drive-thru ballots failed in court. Considering the recent developments, Hollins said that he moved to close the majority of drive-thru locations because he "cannot in good faith encourage voters to cast their votes in tents if that puts their votes at risk."
“My job is to protect the right to vote for all Harris County voters, and that includes those who are going to vote on Election Day,” he added.
The sole remaining drive-thru polling site is located at the Toyota Center. The arena's construction allows it to avoid the same legal scrutiny that other drive-thru locations faced.
Conservative activist Steven Hotze, Texas Rep. Steve Toth, congressional candidate Wendell Champion and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill have argued that the use of drive-thru polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic is illegal.
“Unless stopped, illegal votes will be cast and counted in direct violation of the Texas Election Code and the United States Constitution and result in the integrity of elections in Harris County being compromised,” the group's petition states.
District Judge Andrew Hanen ultimately rejected the lawsuit and said the group had no standing in their case. However, Democratic officials fear that even with a favorable ruling that Republican candidates will look to fight the use of drive-thru ballots further. Leading the way, President Donald Trump has already said that he will call in his lawyers after the election.
"We're going to go in night of, as soon as that election is over, we're going in with our lawyers," Trump told reporters hours before the election.
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