A federal judge in Texas on Monday denied an attempt by Republicans to throw out about 127,000 votes already cast in the U.S. presidential election at drive-through voting sites in Houston, a Democratic-leaning area.
The plaintiffs had accused County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of acting illegally when he allowed drive-through voting as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case.
Over the weekend, more than 230 Christian pastors and faith leaders in Texas signed on to a letter calling for all votes to be counted. Signers included high-profile leaders like Bishop T.D. Jakes; Deborah Fikes, director of public engagement for the World Evangelical Alliance; Bishop Eleazar Rodriguez; and author and speaker Jen Hatmaker
“It shouldn't be controversial to stand up for voting rights. It shouldn't be hard to vote in America in 2020, even with a pandemic,” Adam Phillips, executive director of Faith2020, a multi-faith organization working to turn out religious voters in support of the Biden/Harris ticket, told Sojourners on Sunday.
Harris County, home to the city of Houston and about 4.7 million people, is the third most populous county in the United States. It currently has 10 drive-through polling sites, which are available to all voters.
“I find that when you balance the harms you’ve got to weigh in favor of counting the votes," the judge said.
The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday rejected a nearly identical bid by the same plaintiffs to halt drive-through voting in Harris County. The same court also previously denied similar challenges brought by the Texas Republican Party and the Harris County Republican Party.
Reuters reporting contibuted to this story.