Texas Supreme Court correctly tosses GOP suit over drive-through voting

Texas Supreme Court correctly tosses GOP suit over drive-through voting

The Texas Supreme Court is tossing another lawsuit by Republicans over drive-through voting sites in Harris County. Justices didn’t say why they rejected the suit on Sunday only ruling the emergency relief request was denied.

The best guess on why the Court rejected the suit involves previous suits filed by Republicans likely dealing with timing and the Election Code. Votes are already being counted and tossing all 127K would be rather dumb. The lawsuit was filed in October despite Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins announcing months ago (in July!) that he was planning to expand it into the General Election. The time for state GOP activists to raise concerns about drive-through voting was back then, not weeks before the election. Bad move by Republican activists as it suggests they fear the state may end up going for Democrat Joe Biden instead of Republican Donald Trump. Fear about the fate of Republican Senator John Cornyn may also be a factor along with power in the Texas Legislature.

Even the one Republican Texas Supreme Court justice who dissented on an earlier ruling on drive-through voting appeared to do it on a technicality instead of suggesting the entire thing would promote fraud. Perhaps, as stated before, if the suit had been filed over the summer instead of in October things would be different.

The entire saga isn’t over because of a federal lawsuit on the issue. Via The Texas Tribune:

The tens of thousands of votes are still in flux, however, as the federal courts now weigh the issue. [The GOP suit] asked the district court this week to toss the votes, arguing the county’s implementation of drive-thru voting violates the U.S. Constitution. The campaign of Texas’ Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, MJ Hegar, along with national Democratic campaign groups have asked to intervene in the lawsuit — following a national trend in Republican-led fights against voting expansions during the tumultuous election.

Those hoping the federal judge will rule in favor of the Republican should pause and consider this:

For what it’s worth, drive-through voting still has to follow other election rules. Poll workers will still need to check IDs and make sure a ballot hasn’t already been cast. No system, not even the photo ID one, is perfect and fraud is likely. Texas had a voter fraud case involving a North Texas mayoral candidate this fall. It’s likely any fraudulent votes would not have counted given the voter ID requirements.

One thing to consider: the suit may end up furthering Hollins’ political career from a low-level appointed politician to a higher office if he plays his cards right. Hollins can use these suits against any Republican candidate by showing, “Hey…I believe voting matters!” It would obviously depend on the office (no, I don’t think Hollins could necessarily use this against say, Republican Governor Greg Abbott or Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in 2022) but against a state House or Senate candidate or for a Houston City Council or Harris County commissioner positions? Absolutely. This is a self-inflicted wound by conservative activists which may come back to hurt them at some point in the future.

These lawsuits are dumb and shouldn’t go any further. It would be more understandable if they had been filed much, much earlier but conservatives decided now to file them. I don’t expect them to work, nor should they. Get your popcorn ready for the federal suit, though. It ain’t over.

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David Strom 5:21 PM on June 02, 2023