A federal judge Monday ruled against Texas Republicans who sued to toss out more than 127,000 ballots cast in drive-thru voting booths in Harris County, declaring that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to sue.
Judge Andrew Hanen, who was nominated to the bench by George W. Bush, gave an oral ruling after an emergency hearing in the Southern District of Texas, a day after the Texas Supreme Court denied a similar suit in that court. Earlier, Hanen said the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could change his ruling if he got it wrong.
Harris, which includes Houston and is the third most populous county in the country, set up drive-thru voting booths to accommodate voters during the pandemic, but a group of state Republicans sued the county clerk claiming that the process violated the legislature’s authority over elections and Texans’ equal protection rights.
More than 127,000 Texans — nearly 9 percent of the county’s cast ballots — came from the drive-thru voting booth, the county said on Saturday. A Houston Chronicle analysis revealed that the vast majority of these ballots came from precincts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in 2018.