HOUSTON – A federal judge issued an order to uphold Harris County drive-thru voting but stated that the tents being used to house most drive-thru voting centers will not qualify as “buildings,” which are required for Election Day polling locations.
Instead of 10 drive-thru locations, the Toyota Center will be the only drive-thru voting center available in Harris County on Election Day because of the new order.
In order to allow for drive-thru voting on Election Day while ensuring that all votes will be counted, the only drive-thru voting center on Election Day will be at Toyota Center.
Earlier on Monday, a federal judge rejected another last-ditch Republican effort to invalidate nearly 127,000 votes in Houston because the ballots were cast at drive-thru polling centers established during the pandemic.
The lawsuit was brought by conservative Texas activists who 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 on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision to hear arguments on the brink of Election Day drew concern from voting rights activists, and came after the Texas Supreme Court rejected a nearly identical challenge over the weekend.
Hanen said the opponents to drive-thru centers — who were represented by former Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill— had no standing to bring a lawsuit. He added that people had already voted and that conservative activists had months to bring a challenge sooner.
But Hanen still expressed doubts about whether Texas law allowed anyone to vote from their car, even in a pandemic.