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Government/Politics

Republicans Seek To Toss Out 127,000 Ballots In Democratic-Leaning Texas County

An election worker guides voters in cars at a drive-through voting site in Houston on Oct. 7.
An election worker guides voters in cars at a drive-through voting site in Houston on Oct. 7.

Republicans in Texas have asked the courts to toss out some 127,000 early ballots cast by voters in Harris County, arguing that the votes — delivered via drive-through in the heavily Democratic area — violate the U.S. Constitution and should be deemed invalid.

The plaintiffs argue that the drive-throughs are an illegal extension of curbside voting, which is available at all county voting locations and designated for people who have an illness or disability.

The Democratic Harris County Clerk, Chris Hollins, dismissed the lawsuit as "baseless" in an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition.

"This is simply an un-American attempt to disenfranchise voters," he said, noting that no one knows who the ballots were cast for and rejecting them would likely affects thousands of Republicans, too.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Houston, seen as a deeply conservative federal magistrate, is set to rule over the complaint.

Throughout the campaign, Republicans and President Trump have baselessly claimed that various efforts intended to accommodate voters amid the coronavirus pandemic pave the way for fraud — particularly mail-in voting.

Election security experts have repeatedly said that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, though there are active attempts to sow disinformation among the electorate.

The case of the Harris County ballots is set to be heard Monday morning.

Hollins said Sunday he expects to win, but "in a totally extreme, downside scenario, we would need to encourage those 127,000 Harris County voters to come back out on Tuesday and cast a provisional ballot to make sure that in any circumstance their vote was counted. We're hoping it doesn't come to that."

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