Drive-thru polling sites close in largest county in Texas for Election Day

Nine of 10 drive-thru polling sites in Harris County — the largest in Texas — were shuttered ahead of Election Day following a court battle over ballots cast there.

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins closed the majority of the sites despite federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruling late Monday afternoon that the 127,000 drive-thru ballots already cast would not be invalidated, ABC13 reported.

Hollins, a Democrat, tweeted that he “cannot in good faith encourage voters to cast their votes in tents if that puts their votes at risk.”

“This evening, Judge Hanen issued his order upholding drive-thru voting during the Early Voting period,” Hollins explained on Twitter. “He also stated his view that the tents that house most of the drive-thru voting centers would not qualify as ‘buildings,’ which are required for Election Day polling places.”

As a result, the clerk said the only drive-thru site that would remain open would be at Toyota Center in Houston, which he says “fits the Judge’s definition of a ‘building.’”

Hanen ruled against a conservative activist and three Republican candidates who filed a petition on Monday seeking to toss the 127,000 early votes. The group promptly filed an appeal to stop drive-thru voting, which was also denied.

More than 800 polling locations will be open in Harris County, home to more than 4 million people, on Tuesday, according to the Texas Tribune.

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