TX County Clerk Closes All But One Drive-Thru Polling Site To Keep Ballots From Getting Tossed

Election workers accept mail-in ballots from voters at a drive-through ballot drop off site at NRG Stadium on October 7, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)
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November 3, 2020 9:39 a.m.

Texas Harris County clerk Chris Hollins announced on Monday night that he would be closing nine out of the 10 drive-thru polling places in the county, which encompasses Houston, out of caution after a federal judge smacked down the state GOP’s efforts to throw out more than 125,000 ballots that voters had dropped off at those polling sites.

Hollins explained via Twitter that he was ensuring that the drive-thru ballots cast on Election Day would be counted after U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen stated in his decision that tents that hold drive-thrus don’t qualify as the authorized “buildings” where voting is allowed take place.

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

Therefore the only drive-thru site available will be at the Toyota Center in Houston, the county clerk said.

After Hanen rejected Texas Republicans’ lawsuit, the plaintiffs brought their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. However, the court declined to overrule Hanen’s decision late Monday night.

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