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State GOP files suit to stop curbside voting in Harris County

Honesty, it feels like they’re just trolling now.

Hours before early voting began, the Texas Republican Party filed a new lawsuit Monday night challenging Harris County’s efforts to provide more voting options during the coronavirus pandemic, this time asking a court to limit curbside voting and halt the county’s drive-thru voting programs.

State election law has long allowed voters with medical conditions to vote curbside. After they arrive at a polling location, a ballot is brought outside to them in their vehicle by an election worker. In addition to urging qualified voters to use the curbside option this year, Harris County also opened designated “drive-thru” polling locations for all voters, where poll workers hand people a voting machine through their car window after checking their photo identification.

The state GOP’s lawsuit, filed in a state appeals court in Houston, seeks to halt the drive-thru voting program and limit curbside voting to those who have submitted sworn applications saying they qualify for it. Glenn Smith, a senior strategist with Progress Texas, said Tuesday he could find nothing in the law requiring an application to vote curbside. Texas election law instructs election officers to deliver an on-site curbside ballot if a voter is “physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter’s health.”

“Unless stopped, each of these instances of illegal voting will cast a cloud over the results of the General Election,” the lawsuit states.

Chris Hollins, the Harris County Clerk, said the latest lawsuit is in line with the Republican Party “feverishly” using resources to limit people’s right to vote.

“This lawsuit is not only frivolous, but it’s also a gross misrepresentation of the differences between curbside voting — for voters with disabilities, including illness — and drive-thru voting, which is available for all voters who want to vote from the safety and convenience of their vehicle,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

[…]

The Republicans argue that fear of contracting the coronavirus isn’t enough under state election law to qualify for curbside voting. Their point is bolstered by a May ruling from the all-Republican state Supreme Court which said a lack of immunity to the coronavirus is not a disability that qualifies Texans to vote by mail. But Texas law differentiates between mail-in ballots — which must be requested ahead of time through an application under strict qualifications, like a disability — and curbside voting, which is requested onsite.

The Texas secretary of state’s office has repeatedly said this year that those who have symptoms or signs of the new coronavirus should use curbside voting. The office has provided placards for county election officials to use at polling locations that urge curbside voting for sick people or those who can’t enter a polling place without the “likelihood of injuring your health.”

[…]

Voters must provide photo identification, then will be handed a portable voting machine in their car, according to the website. The clerk’s office notes drive-thru voting is open to all voters, as opposed to curbside voting which is applicable for those with a disability.

The lawsuit filed Monday says drive-thru voting is an expansion of curbside voting, and therefore can’t be available to all voters. The Republican Party also notes that election law states polling places must be located inside a building, and the county’s promotional video for drive-thru voting is in an outdoor parking lot.

I will admit that I have generally not distinguished between curbside and drive-through voting. I’d not given any thought to the difference, or even that there was a difference. I will point out here that this drive-through method was piloted for the primary runoffs, and formally announced as part of the county’s overall election plan in August. I will also note that Bexar County had announced their own plans for drive-though voting even earlier in August. This once again raises the question of “if you’re gonna sue about this, why is it taking you so long?”

The Chron has some more details.

In a petition filed late Monday in Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals, the Texas Republican Party contended the Texas Election Code limits curbside voting, including drive-thru voting, to voters who are sick or disabled, or if voting inside the polling location “would create a likelihood of injuring the voter’s health.” Those provisions do not apply to the coronavirus pandemic, the party argued in its filing.

“Chris Hollins is telling all Harris County residents that they are eligible for curbside voting when he knows that is not the case,” the party said in a statement. “Any voter that does not qualify to vote curbside under narrow statutory language would be voting illegally if allowed to vote drive-through.”

[…]

Assistant County Attorney Douglas Ray said county officials are comfortable with the legality of drive-thru voting because they do not consider it to be a form of curbside voting. The drive-thru locations, he noted, are all inside buildings, such as garages and temporary structures, which he said prevents them from being curbside under Texas law.

“We looked at this carefully before we decided to do it and feel that it’s within the boundaries of the law,” Ray said. “It’s disingenuous on their part to try to classify drive-thru as curbside, because that is not what we’re doing.”

This was filed with the 14th Court of Appeals, so I presume it’s a writ of mandamus. (I couldn’t find any filings when I searched the 14th Court website, but maybe I was just searching wrong.) I presume also that the 14th Court is under no obligation to issue a ruling in a timely manner – I’d say sitting on this one, then dismissing it as moot is the fate it deserves, but then I’m both petty and Not A Lawyer, so don’t pay too much attention to that. We all understand what this is about, and we all understand the motivation for it. The courts are gonna do what they’re gonna do, and we’ll go from there. Let’s not give this any more thought than that.

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24 Comments

  1. brad says:

    Voter suppression…its not just for breakfast anymore.

  2. Flypusher says:

    That’s why it’s good to see so many people willing to stand in line for hours to vote. I’m sorry that I couldn’t split the wait time difference with one of them. Having this blow up in the GOP’s faces would redeem 2020 a little.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Funny how 130,000 Harris County residents weren’t suppressed at all yesterday. If they can vote, so can You!

    I mean, unless we are accusing Chris Hollims of being a mass murderer. Is Chris a murderer or not?

  4. brad says:

    Bill,

    Chris Hollis is definitely a murderer, if not the biggest mass murderer in Harris County.

    C’mon Bill, as a paid right-wing troll, you know the greater the lie or the greater the conspiracy theory the more it will get clicks or likes by your ilk.

  5. Ross says:

    Lots of those 130,000 people used drive through voting.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Just got back from voting. Total time truck to truck was less than 20 minutes. I saw two people on crutches who were able to walk in and vote. There was one curbside voter, but I didn’t snap to what was going on until I saw the poll worker walk back with the tablet, so I didn’t get a good look at who voted curbside. I was told, however, that I came at the very slowest time……previously yesterday and today they had lines from the library all the way to the street.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Off topic, but if anyone wants to see the ‘smocking gun’ emails that prove Burisma used Hunter Biden to meet with and influence Joe Biden, here’s the story, from the NY Post. Remember when Biden said he didn’t know anything about Hunter’s involvement with Burisma? Remember when he said he didn’t meet with any of the Burisma folks?
    Seems like ol’ Joe forgot some stuff.

    https://nypost.com/2020/10/14/email-reveals-how-hunter-biden-introduced-ukrainian-biz-man-to-dad/

  8. Manny says:

    When I read about the post’s find, I wondered how long it would take Bill to bring it. So Bill did you read the NY Post’s other article that had that DNA tests of Jarred’s children showed that Donald was the father of all Jarred’s children. Regular Lannister type of family.

    Stop the BS Bill

  9. brad says:

    Bill, you so cute when you fall for the right-wing lies.

    First, we need to question the authenticity of an email supposedly found on a laptop computer abandoned at a computer repair shop in Delaware.

    Second, even if the email to Hunter Biden was authentic, the email reprinted by The Post doesn’t even say what the story claims. There’s nothing in the email that suggests Joe Biden ever met with a Burisma adviser. And if such a meeting did take place, it would be pretty easy to prove since it would be on the vice president’s schedule.

    Third, and perhaps most important, we know that the Ukrainian prosecutor was fired because he was not prosecuting corruption cases and removing him made it more likely Burisma might actually face a real investigation. That’s the opposite of what the story claims.

    Forget about whether such a story — if true — would even move the needle in this election. Nothing about the premise of this “October surprise” 20 days before the election adds up.

    But that doesn’t mean we won’t hear more about it. The Post claims the computer includes a “massive trove of data” along with “a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who’s admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman.”

    At one point, the Biden campaign was probably worried that the Hunter Biden angle might cause them problems. Now, they must be relieved to know the Trump campaign has nothing.

  10. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals promptly dismissed the mandamus petition today for lack of standing. The Court can take action on its own initiative under such circumstances because want of standing is a jurisdictional defect subject to sua sponte review under governing precedent.

    CONCLUSION

    Because relators have not shown that they have standing to seek mandamus relief under Election Code section 273.061, this court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction.

    Additionally, because the election is currently in progress and the relators delayed filing this mandamus until over a month after learning of the actions of the Harris County Clerk’s Office, mandamus relief is not available. We therefore dismiss relators’ petition for writ of mandamus for lack of jurisdiction.

    PER CURIAM

    Panel consists of Justices Spain, Hassan, and Poissant.

    IN RE JUAN GERARDO PEREZ PICHARDO AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS., Relators, No. 14-20-00697-CV (Tex.App. – Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 14, 2020)(orig. proceeding for writ of mandamus against local election official under Elec. Code Section 273.061).

    The docket sheet is here:
    http://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=14-20-00697-CV&coa=coa14

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Brad,

    Note that the Biden camp doesn’t say the emails are fake. They are doing the ol’ soft shoe about the meeting. They aren’t denying it. Admit it, Brad, what I’ve been telling you is true. You impeached Trump over the crimes of the Biden family.

    “Scandal free administration”

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/14/biden-campaign-lashes-out-new-york-post-429486

    “The Post story included a screenshot of what the paper said was a 2015 email from Burisma adviser Vadym Pozharskyi to Hunter Biden, thanking him for “the opportunity to meet your father.” But the email doesn’t indicate whether Pozharskyi was describing a meeting that had already occurred or one intended to occur in the future. Nevertheless, the Post reported that the existence of such a meeting undercut Biden’s long-held assertions that he had no involvement with his son’s business dealings.

    Biden’s campaign would not rule out the possibility that the former VP had some kind of informal interaction with Pozharskyi, which wouldn’t appear on Biden’s official schedule. But they said any encounter would have been cursory. Pozharskyi did not respond to a request for comment.”

  12. […] here for the background, and here for the 14th Court’s ruling. It should be noted that the court […]

  13. Bill Daniels says:

    MOAR payola for Hunter and ‘the big guy’ AKA Lunchbucket Joe:

    https://nypost.com/2020/10/15/emails-reveal-how-hunter-biden-tried-to-cash-in-big-with-chinese-firm/

    I guess now we can actually SEE how train riden’ Joe, with almost 50 years of public service jobs, got so rich. Seems legit.

  14. Manny says:

    Bill trying to figure out which one is crazier, you are the orange buffoon, is very difficult.

    You are getting as desperate as the orange fool, soon you will start begging people to vote for Trump, like the orange buffoon did two days ago.

  15. Bill Daniels says:

    Oh, look, Manny….just an email confirming that ‘Pop’ AKA Joe, gets half of all the ‘salaries’ of his family members who are in on the ‘business deals.’

    https://media.thedonald.win/post/txMrNt68.jpeg

  16. brad says:

    Comedy Hour at the Bill Daniels Howdy Doody Show this morning.

    Some really Pulitzer Prize winning journalism.

  17. Jules says:

    Here’s the wapo’s explainer, although Bill’s idiotic pic of Guiliani explains it pretty well

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/14/hunter-bidens-alleged-laptop-an-explainer/

  18. C.L. says:

    I gave up long ago on trying to figure out who in Washington (or New York) is more crooked when compared to his/her peers, or who has a shadier past when it comes to his/her family’s fortune. Grading them on any sort of scale and eliminating them (ie. not voting for) from public service would decimate a number of needed positions inside the Beltway.

  19. Jen says:

    Poor Russian Bill, trying to make a go of this pathetic ca-ca.
    This CNN headline pretty much says it all : “Trump rages at allies as potential October surprises fizzle”.

  20. Bill Daniels says:

    Hey hey, lookie here….a poll watcher right here in Houston witnesses voter fraud. I mean, doesn’t every polling location come with a ready made stack of Texas D.L.’s ready to use to vote?

    https://nationalfile.com/exclusive-texas-poll-watcher-testifies-on-2020-voter-fraud-in-houston-has-photos/

    There’s pictures at the link for those of you who may be visual learners, or, who, like Manny, don’t read very well.

  21. Brad says:

    Lookie lookie says the carnival barker.

    Before I open up the link will you let me know if the photos show a bearded woman or a two headed snake?

  22. Manny says:

    I hereby swear that I saw Donald Trump and Bill Daniels have sexual intercourse with what appeared to be a young woman to be under 18 years of age. Then I post a photo of people having sex, no way to id the persons on the photo.

    The photo that the person presents shows a stack of driver’s licenses, but not who had them.

    The person took a photo inside a voting location which is prohibited, that by itself indicates that the man is not constrained by rules or laws.

    Surprise, surprise it is tied in to Hotze’s allegations of massive voter fraud.

    Republicans will do anything to stay in power, including lie, cheat, and steal.

    Bill why all the fake rage over being called negrophobic (Big Jolly), everyone that reads your bull can figure out you are raving raging racist and bigot.

  23. Bill Daniels says:

    Brad,

    You need to catch up on your OLD homework before you start on today’s lesson. Go back and listen to Kuff’s interview with Lizzie Fletcher, revise your comments on that thread after actually listening to the subject matter, then come back to this thread and you can check out the link about voter fraud.

    You’re like the kid who turns in a book report that basically says “Gatsby was a great guy, in multiple ways, because he didn’t read the book.

  24. […] here, here, and here for the background, and here for County Clerk Chris Hollins’ attempt to get […]