On Sunday, the Texas Supreme Court rejected a petition seeking to invalidate 127,000 votes cast at drive-thru polling stations in the state’s most populous county, Harris County. The court denied the challenge by a Republican activist and three Republican candidates in the state arguing that the drive-thru polling sites in the largely Democratic Harris County are unconstitutional. The court denied the request without an order or opinion. An emergency hearing will be held on Monday morning in Houston for a challenge by the same plaintiffs in federal court.
Drive-thru ballots account for about 10% of in-person ballots cast through the state’s early voting period. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the county set up 10 drive-thru centers where voters can pull up in their vehicles and vote on an electronic tablet passed through their window by a poll worker after having their registrations and identifications confirmed. The plaintiffs argued drive-thru voting was an expansion of the state’s curbside voting policy and should only be available to people with disabilities. The Harris County Clerk’s Office countered that its drive-thru locations are separate and distinct polling places from the curbside locations and therefore can be utilized by all voters.