Texas Republicans sue to toss ballots of 127,000 people who already voted


It's a last-ditch effort to throw out ballots in a key state.

On Sunday, the Texas Supreme Court struck down an attempt by Republican plaintiffs to prevent 127,000 cast votes from being counted days before the election — an eleventh-hour attempt by the GOP to throw out ballots in a key state.

A group of Republican activists sought to reject early ballots cast in Harris County, Texas, at "drive-thru" voting sites that had been set up for pandemic-related public safety.

The Texas high court threw out the request, but the plaintiffs have filed a parallel lawsuit in a federal court. In that suit, which will be heard Monday, one day before the election, Republicans claim that "drive-thru" voting is unconstitutional.

Republican election attorney Ben Ginsberg and former GOP Speaker of the Texas House Joe Strauss have filed a brief opposing the plaintiffs in the federal suit.

This is the latest in an ongoing series of legal battles and other efforts by many Republican activists to invalidate ballots that have already been cast, a push that has only ramped up as Election Day nears.

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court upheld Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's order that capped the number of drop box locations for absentee ballots. Under the order, only one drop box location was permitted per county.

Harris County, which includes the Houston area, has 4.7 million people and has been forced to operate with only a single ballot drop box throughout October. Previously, the county had 12.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that Abbott's order "does not disenfranchise anyone."

Republicans and voting rights advocates have also been embroiled in high-profile suits in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In both states, the GOP has sought to block deadline extensions for mail-in ballots to be counted, effectively disenfranchising disproportionately Democratic voters in pivotal battleground states.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate a lower federal court ruling in Wisconsin that would have extended the mail-in voting deadline.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent that this would affect close to 100,000 Wisconsin voters.

"In the court's view, the discarding of so many properly cast ballots would severely burden the constitutional right to vote. ... The Court's decision will disenfranchise large numbers of responsible voters in the midst of hazardous pandemic conditions," Kagan said.

In the Pennsylvania suit, a Supreme Court decision last week permitted the mail-in voting extension to stand as the high court rejected the GOP's pleas to reconsider.

Republicans have made numerous other efforts in recent days to suppress votes.

A recent suit filed in Nevada by the Trump campaign requested that campaign observers be allowed to watch the process of counting mail-in votes in largely blue counties.

Republicans lost big on Monday when the Nevada court denied the Trump campaign's request.

Earlier this month, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a law that has had far-reaching Republican support, one which makes it more cumbersome to process absentee ballot requests. This decision effectively disenfranchised tens of thousands of Iowa voters in three counties before Election Day.

Several weeks ago, a federal judge sided with Republicans in requiring a witness signature on North Carolina absentee ballots, despite the difficulty of obtaining a witness signature during a pandemic. The ruling will disallow ballots with incomplete witness signatures that have already been cast from being counted.

And voter intimidation isn't out of the question either.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania attorney general was forced to warn the Trump campaign to stop filming voters dropping off ballots at drop-off boxes, which falls outside the scope of legally permissible poll watching.

But according to former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Fox News Sunday, Republicans are not out to suppress votes or intimidate voters, just ensure "the integrity of the process."

He claimed Republicans just want to see as many votes get in as possible by Election Day.

Lewandowski added that Trump was bound to score a "resounding victory" on Tuesday.

"We know that people can vote, we know how to count quickly, so let's get it done," he added.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.