Texas Supreme Court rejects GOP bid to void 127,000 votes

The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday rejected a GOP bid to void more than 100,000 votes in largely Democratic Harris County.

The state’s all-Republican Supreme Court issued an opinion without comment two days before the election that denied Republicans' request to throw out almost 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru early voting locations in Houston.

The court had denied a similar lawsuit last month.

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But Sunday’s court ruling does not definitively resolve the matter since a federal judge will hear a similar case from the same group of Republicans in an emergency hearing on Monday. 

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, committed on Friday to hearing the case, which could result in about 10 percent of all in-person early voting ballots in the county not counting, The Texas Tribune reported

Both lawsuits revolve around Harris County’s creation of 10 drive-thru locations for residents to vote while staying in their cars instead of entering polling places and potentially spreading or catching the coronavirus. 

The Republican plaintiffs, who include conservative activist Steven Hotze and state Rep. Steve Toth, argued that the drive-thru locations violated the U.S. constitution and were illegal under Texas election law. They said Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins (D) exceeded his authority by setting up the drive-thru stations. 

Texas law permits curbside voting in Harris County for voters with a disability, but the drive-thru polls are open to all voters. Hollins has requested that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declare the drive-thru locations legal, Abbott has not answered, The Associated Press reported

Democratic groups called the Republican effort “wholly unreasonable” in a statement on Friday as part of a motion asking to intervene in the case, according to Reuters

Tensions are high in Texas, as the historically Republican stronghold has become a key battleground state in the 2020 election, with Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE making gains on President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE. The president won Texas by 9 points in 2016.