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127,000 drive-thru votes may be safe, but nine of 10 locations in Harris County are still shut down on Nov. 3. Photo: Houston Chronicle
127,000 drive-thru votes may be safe, but nine of 10 locations in Harris County are still shut down on Nov. 3. Photo: Houston Chronicle

A day after triumph, Texas drive-thru voting will be limited in Harris County

Only one of 10 drive-thru polling places in the state’s largest county is open on Election Day.

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Harris County Election Commissioner Chris Hollins tweeted about a victory “for democracy” yesterday as Texas’ Supreme Court ruled against a GOP challenge of up to 127,000 early votes submitted at drive-thru voting locations set up throughout the county.

Home to Houston, the third-most populous city in the U.S., Harris County is the most populous county in Texas and has the nation’s second-highest Hispanic population behind Los Angeles County, California.

Following the victory on Monday, Hollins quickly reversed and announced that nine of 10 drive-thru voting locations in the county would be closed on Election Day due to the potential further legal challenge presented by members of the GOP.

"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,” he said. “I cannot in good faith encourage voters to cast their votes in tents if that puts their votes at risk."

The problem with tents, is that at the heart of the GOP challenge against the drive-thru polls is that Texas law mandates each polling place must be inside a building. The drive-thru locations all had tents rather than buildings.

127,000 early votes may be safe, but any further vote cast on Election Day could’ve been subject to further litigation and tossed.

There are 800 polling locations throughout Harris County on Election Day, but the challenge by the GOP is just one of what could be many over the coming days as the 2020 Election pans out.

While the challenge in Texas’ biggest county was on a whole unsuccessful, it still shut down nine of 10 locations on Election Day. The only open drive-thru location is at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston.

Drive-thru voting was also thought to be a safer voting option in the face of a rapidly-growing coronavirus pandemic. 

Outside of Texas, President Trump is also on a mission to challenge mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and his campaign has already sent lawyers to Philadelphia to file motions on behalf of poll watchers.

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