The Supreme Court in Texas, on Sunday, dismissed a petition submitted by a group of Republican politicians seeking to nullify almost 127,000 drive-through votes in Harris County, while a federal court has convened an emergency sitting to give its decision in a similar suit. The decision is the second of its kind that has been made in the all-Republican Supreme Court in the state. The group that filed the petition has been taking steps to cancel the drive-thru voting system in Harris County.
The petition filed in the largely Democratic Houston was submitted on the grounds that the voting system contravenes existing federal laws of the United States. The politicians seem to be working per the strategy of the Republican Party and Donald Trump, President of the United States. There have such petitions submitted all over the country by Republicans to challenge the voting system especially after the pandemic struck the country.
Trump and the GOP officials have frequently made unwarranted complaints about the voting systems in a bid to nullify measures such as voting by mail, and the utilization of dropboxes, put in place to reduce the crowd at polling stations. The lawyer of the complainants, Jared Woodfill submitted that Chris Hollins, Clerk of the county, had acted against the laws of the country when he enforced the drive-through voting system.
“The votes were wrongly cast, we just want the court to address the issue not necessarily nullify the votes, ” Woodfill told reporters on Sunday before the court made its decision.
Harris County Clerk, Hollins has continuously defended the voting system stating that it is a safe and practical choice for the period of the pandemic and that different courts and electoral officers have examined and accepted it, CNN reports.
“We had no doubt that the courts will dismiss the case,” the county clerk informed reporters. “The intention behind the system is to ensure that every member of our community can vote and that their votes will count.”
The county had a total of 10 drive-through points created to facilitate early voting. Early voting ended in the county on Friday. Before it ended, almost 127,000 votes were cast in the 10 drive-thru stations, around 10% of in-person votes cast during the early voting period. The drive-thru stations were accessible to all voters unlike the curbside stations accessible only to physically disabled residents of the county.
The Republican plaintiffs argued before the court that the drive-thru voting system contravenes the stipulation of the U.S Constitution that state legislatures, not counties, should decide the method for conducting elections. They also argued that it contravenes the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment because the system was not used by other counties in Texas.
Steve Toth, a Republican member of the House of Representatives in Texas and one of the plaintiffs explained that the decision to change voting systems lies in the hand of the state lawmakers. He also condemned the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling against canceling the drive-through voting system last week.