A federal judge rejected a bid by Republican activists to invalidate 127,000 votes in the most populous county in Texas.
“For lack of a nicer way of saying it, I ain’t buying it,” U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said at a hearing Monday in Houston, rejecting the request by Republican activists because of lack of standing.
“You have a tough uphill row to hoe,” Hanen said earlier. The request to throw out the drive-through votes required someone to do a “fair amount of convincing” in what little time is left before Tuesday’s presidential election, he said.
The hearing in federal court took place one day after the state’s Supreme Court denied the effort to reject votes that were cast using drive-through voting in the county. Harris County, which includes the Houston metropolitan area, is home to about 4.7 million people and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 161,959 ballots.
After years of being solidly Republican, Texas is now considered a toss-up state in some polls, putting its 38 electoral college votes in play.
The Republican activists’ case argued that drive-through voting is an illegal extension of curbside voting, which is meant for people who are sick or have a physical disability. Harris County implemented it to limit the spread of Covid-19 during the election.
A lot of discussion took place in the court about whether a car is a “structure” under the law. The judge’s decision can be appealed to the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, one of the country’s more conservative federal appeals courts.
A few people were outside the court building Monday, holding up signs urging the judge to “count every vote.”
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