Texas Supreme Court Issues Order On Late Cast Provisional Ballots in Harris County

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Nov. 22, the Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary order following an emergency request from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) seeking a court order to prohibit the counting of provisional ballots cast during Harris County’s one-hour long polling hours extension for the Nov. 8, 2022 election. Instead of granting Paxton’s request in full, the court issued a temporary order directing Harris County to count ballots as required by Texas law and to “separately identify in the vote tabulations the number of ‘later cast votes’ for each candidate in each race…[so] this Court may ascertain whether the ‘later cast votes’ would be outcome-determinative and so that the parties can assess the extent to which further litigation is warranted.” Additionally, the court ordered Harris County to “provide the Court with a copy of the canvass results, including the separately tabulated ‘later cast votes,’ as soon as they are available.” Notably, today’s order is not final and Paxton’s petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to compel the respondents — including the Harris County Commissioners Court, Harris County judge and county elections administrator — to exclude all provisional ballots cast during the one-hour polling extension from the county’s vote totals remains pending before the court. 

This temporary order comes just one day after Paxton filed the petition in the Texas Supreme Court in which he claimed that counting the approximately 2,100 ballots cast during the county’s polling hours extension would violate Texas law. Today’s order, while not final, is a win for Harris County voters who, as of now, will not have their late cast ballots completely thrown out as Paxton requested in his petition. 

Read the order here. 

Learn more about the case here.