Elections 2020Texas GOP Challenge to Harris County Curbside Voting Expansion Denied by State Supreme Court

After the Texas Supreme Court denied the GOP's challenge, Harris County can continue to offer curbside voting to all voters, regardless of the statutory disability stipulations.
October 22, 2020
The Republican Party of Texas’ (RPT) challenge to Harris County’s curbside voting expansion has been denied by the Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX).

Harris County Interim Clerk Chris Hollins extended the availability to all voters, not just those with disabilities.

“If a voter is physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter’s health, on the voter’s request, an election officer shall deliver a ballot to the voter at the polling place entrance or curb,” the Texas Election Code reads.

The appeals court ruled that the RPT not only lacked standing to challenge the law, but also waited too long to file the suit.

In a multi-case dissent — paired with a similar challenge from the Harris County GOP that was also denied — Justice John Devine stated, “Simply put, by creating drive-thru voting locations, Hollins acts beyond his discretion. I would grant the stay until this Court can determine whether this novel procedure of drive-thru voting is in fact permitted under the Texas Election Code.”

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“By denying relief, Relators—one of whom is on the ballot in the general election—are left with no remedy. Without such relief, thousands of ballots continue to be cast through what is likely an unauthorized voting procedure,” he concluded.

In a statement provided to The Texan, a spokesman for the RPT said, “We are perplexed by the Supreme Court of Texas’s decision today. However, this whole situation would have been avoided if the unelected, partisan, Chris Hollins, had not abused his position as County Clerk of Harris County to manipulate the election process and undermine electoral integrity. The Texas GOP will continue to fight against any action that will allow for voter suppression to occur.”

Hollins established 10 early voting locations at which the curbside voting was made available. Over 875,000 Harris County voters have already cast their ballots.

Read Devine’s dissent below, no majority opinion was issued.

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to include a statement from the Republican Party of Texas.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.