Federal judge in Texas allows Harris County to count drive-through ballots

Plaintiffs argued the drive-thru program is an expansion of curbside voting, making it accessible only to voters with disabilities under the state's election law.

Updated: November 2, 2020 - 6:30pm

A federal judge in Texas on Monday allowed the state's Harris County to count ballots cast via drive-through voting.

Republicans had asked the court to toss out nearly 127,000 such ballots from the state election count.

Harris is the largest county in Texas, where President Trump is in a close reelection race with Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The state has 38 Electoral College votes in the contest, which takes 270 to win.

Plaintiffs in the case argued that the drive-thru program is an expansion of curbside voting, making only voters with disabilities eligible for it under the state's election law. They also argue the program violates the U.S. Constitution, which gives states the authority to decide how elections are run.

The county opened 10 drive-thru voting locations in early October where residents could go to vote from their car. Voters are handed a portable machine through the window and cast their vote from their vehicle.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen heard the case. The same case was rejected by the state's Supreme Court on Sunday.

Out of the 2.4 million eligible voters in Harris County, 127,000 have cast their ballot by the drive-thru voting option, roughly 9% of the total votes cast so far. 

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