Attorneys made their closing arguments Thursday in a case aimed at throwing out Harris County’s November election results, the first to go to trial out of 21 pending lawsuits brought by defeated Republican candidates in hopes of convincing a judge to order new elections.
At the end of the eight-day trial, GOP attorneys summarized their claims that thousands of voters were prevented from voting in November, while thousands of illegal ballots were counted that shouldn’t have been. The defense team berated the GOP for failing to get testimony from a single voter who was unable to cast a ballot, arguing their case instead was built on a stream of non-expert witnesses whose allegations about voting irregularities fell apart under scrutiny.
The contestant in the lawsuit, GOP judicial candidate Erin Lunceford, lost to incumbent 189th District Judge Tamika Craft by 2,743 votes — a 0.26 percent margin, much narrower than most of the contested races in which some candidates trailed the winners by up to 35,000 votes.
Judge David Peeples, a visiting judge from Bexar County presiding over all 21 pending cases, told attorneys not to expect a ruling for at least a month; his decision likely will be appealed immediately.
While Lunceford’s case initially centered around allegations that up to 3,000 voters were turned away from 29 polls on Election Day, it gradually broadened into a collection of over a dozen grievances more closely resembling an unofficial audit of the November election conducted by members of the Harris County Republican party.
The judge will sort through numerous disputes, as the two sides in the case don’t agree on what the GOP needs to prove in order to win, whether a key election code statute applies to Harris County or even whether the race was a close one.
See here and here for the background. I’ve spent a lot of time dunking on the claims that there were voters on Election Day who had almost 800 places to go vote but never got to do so because a small number of locations had temporary printer problems. I will admit that I had some trepidation that I was being lulled into a false sense of security and the plaintiffs really did have at least a few people who would tell tales of tragedy and woe, which still might not add up to much from an evidentiary perspective but would be rhetorically powerful. I needn’t have worried. In the end the evidence was nothing but dorm room bull session theorizing. I suppose the judge, or in the end the Supreme Court, could still buy it, but I can sleep well knowing that they had nothing. They started with nothing, they ended with nothing, they showed us nothing along the way. Whatever happens from here, never forget that. Texas Standard has more.
Actually, one more thing:
trial just ended & i’m just sitting here in disbelief that there was so little media coverage of a trial to *throw out an election* in the third largest county in the U.S.
— jen rice (@jen_rice_) 12:01 PM – 10 August 2023
Yeah, I don’t understand that either.