Just three days before the November election, alarm bells rang out as partisan political candidates and advocates attempted to disenfranchise nearly 130,000 Texans in Harris County, home of the state’s largest city, who utilized the pandemic-friendly and voter-safe method of drive-through voting. Luckily, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas declined to do just that by dismissing the case.
What you may not know, however, is that the attack on drive-through voting in Harris County is still underway. The case, Hotze v. Harris County, is currently before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The plaintiffs argue that drive-through voting allows” ineligible” votes to be cast, but offer no proof that any votes cast at any drive-thru location in Harris County during the 2020 election cycle were cast by ineligible voters.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, the New York ACLU and private counsel, filed a brief rebutting the plaintiffs’ arguments. In the brief, we argue that drive–through voting does not violate the Texas Election Code, the integrity of the voting process was not compromised by allowing drive-thru ballots to be counted, and that the plaintiffs do not have the standing to bring claims that risk disenfranchising thousands of other Texans.
“This attack on Harris County’s successful and voter-friendly drive-thru voting program has no legitimate basis,” said Ezra Rosenberg, co-director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The district court judge reached the correct conclusion in dismissing this case before the November 2020 election and there is no good reason to revive it now, more than four months later.”
The brief is being filed on behalf of several voters who utilized Harris County drive-through voting prior to the 2020 election, and would have been disenfranchised if the plaintiffs had prevailed in their attempt to obtain emergency relief from the court prior to that election.
Contact: Ian Weiner, [email protected], c. (202) 262-8387