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LGBTQ bar in Houston makes history as polling location

Facebook | Buddy's Houston

Buddy’s Houston made history on Tuesday by becoming the world’s first-known presidential polling location inside an LGBTQ bar, according to The Houston Chronicle.

The local watering hole has transformed into a polling location with 14 voting booths and poll workers who speak several different languages, including English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Indonesian. 

Say “Hello” in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese or Indonesian. The friendly poll workers at BUDDY’S are happy to help you #vote.

Posted by BUDDY’S Houston on Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Harris County Clerk’s Office celebrated the news on Twitter, writing: “We’re not a regular county, we’re a *cool* county.”

Harris County, home to the city of Houston and more than 4 million people, has increasingly become more Democratic in recent years. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign is eyeing Harris County — which had already cast 1.1 million early ballots — for a potential victory, The Texas Tribune reported on Friday. 

More than 75,000 votes were cast across the county’s 800-plus polling locations as of 11 a.m. on Election Day. 

The county has been facing litigation over the use of drive-through voting methods as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.

A federal district judge in Texas on Monday ruled against Republican plaintiffs who sought to throw out 127,000 ballots cast by drive-through voting. Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the legal right to sue in the case. 

The four plaintiffs, three of whom are GOP candidates, claimed the drive-through polling stations were an illegal expansion of curbside voting, an option Texas makes available only to physically disabled voters. Later Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit denied the plaintiffs’ appeal. 

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins (D) ultimately closed almost all of the drive-through voting locations on Monday, saying 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,” Hollins explained. 

The one drive-through location that remains open is the Toyota Center, which has “walls and a roof” and would fit the judge’s definition of a “building,” Hollins said. 

Tags 2020 election coronavirus pandemic Drive-thru voting Early voting Gay bar Harris County Houston Joe Biden LGBTQ Texas Texas

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