Texas Supreme Court Endangers Late Votes in Harris County
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Nov. 8, the Texas Supreme Court paused a ruling that extended voting hours at precincts in Harris County, the third most populous county in the nation. After several polling locations opened late due to various issues, a Harris County district court judge extended voting in the entire county by one hour until 8:00 p.m. CST. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) then asked the state Supreme Court to pause the decision, which the court granted. The state Supreme Court issued its order after polling locations had already extended their closing times and after polls had closed throughout the county.
Texas law requires any late ballots cast to be segregated from the vote totals. However, with the Supreme Court’s decision to halt the lower court’s ruling, Texas officials could ask for those ballots to be thrown out, disenfranchising the affected voters through no fault of their own. In the event of close races, these ballots could prove to be decisive to the outcome.
In sum, the Supreme Court’s decision has set up a legal fight over the fate of these segregated ballots. This case is expected to move quickly and we’ll keep you updated with what happens.