Harris County

Court Tosses Suit Against Texas County's Drive-Thru Voting

A lawsuit to bar drive-thru voting in Houston has been rejected by a federal appeals court

David J. Phillip

A 2020 lawsuit to bar drive-thru voting in Houston was rejected Monday by a federal appeals court in New Orleans.

The lawsuit was filed ahead of last November's presidential election by one voter and three candidates for office. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling said the issue is moot now that the election has passed. And it noted that the Texas Legislature has banned drive-thru voting in future elections.

The 5th Circuit panel acknowledged there is one election set this November, before the Texas law takes effect. But it ruled that the four plaintiffs -- a Harris County voter and three people who were candidates for office last year -- have no standing to sue over what it said was a "far too generalized" claim that drive-thru voting hurts the integrity of the election process.

And, the opinion added, none of the three candidates for office in last November's election have indicated they intend to be candidates in the upcoming election.

Judge Catharina Haynes, a nominee of President George W. Bush, wrote the opinion, joined by Judge Eugene Davis, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan. Dissenting was Judge Andrew Oldham, a nominee of President Donald Trump. Oldham argued that the case was not moot and that Harris County, in providing for drive-thru voting, violated current state law that reserves votes outside of a polling place for those with "special physical disabilities or health risks."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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