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TX Supreme Court strikes down attempt to toss 127,000 drive-thru ballots

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The Texas Supreme Court has struck down Monday an effort led by Republicans to toss out 127,000 ballots in the Lone Star State’s largest county.

The court, comprised entirely of Republicans, according to The Hill, decided to strike down an attempt by GOP candidates and activists, who were the plaintiffs, to toss over 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru early-voting sites from Harris County, which contains the city of Houston.

The county set up 10 of these drive-thru voting stations, where voters have the ability to remain in the comfort and safety of their vehicles while they vote to avoid coming into contact with many people inside of a traditional polling site and possibly contracting the novel coronavirus.

Fox News reported that, as of Friday, these 127,000 ballots amounted to 9% of all the votes cast so far in Harris County, with the county having 2.4 million eligible voters.

According to Popular Information journalist Judd Legum, the reason for why the court struck this down is because, in the judge’s view, the “plaintiffs didn’t articulate a specific injury, which is required for standing.”

It is important to note, however, that a federal judge on Monday will have an emergency meeting with the same group of GOP plaintiffs as part of a separate lawsuit about this same issue. Thus, this issue regarding drive-thru voting sites may not be an entirely closed-and-shut case.

The plaintiffs argue that these drive-thru sites defy the U.S. Constitution as well as Texas election laws. According to the state laws, per The Hill, curbside voting is permitted for those with disabilities in Harris County. However, all voters are allowed to vote at these drive-thru stations. The plaintiffs claim that this should be restricted only to those with disabilities.

The battle for Texas is hot this election, as demographic trends and increased Democratic voter-registration efforts in the state have pushed the crown jewel of the Republicans’ electoral wall toward swing-state status over the course of many elections.

Incumbent GOP President Donald Trump won the state by nine points in 2016. In the 2018 U.S. Senate election, Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) lost to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) by less than three points. As of Monday, FiveThirtyEight’s polling average places Trump at 48.5% and former Vice President Joe Biden at 47.5% in the state.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Elections

New York City Dems Push Law to Allow 800,000 Non-Citizens to Vote in Municipal Elections

The New York City Council will vote on December 9 on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections

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Election

New York’s Democratic party is battling over the constitutionality of voter laws. On December 9, the New York City Council will vote on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections.

“Around 808,000 New York City residents who have work permits or are lawful permanent residents would be eligible to vote under the legislation, which has the support of 34 of 51 council members, a veto-proof majority” reports Fox News.

“It’s important for the Democratic Party to look at New York City and see that when voting rights are being attacked, we are expanding voter participation,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a sponsor of the bill and Democrat who represents the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, told the New York Times. Rodriguez immigrated from the Dominican Republic and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.

Fox News reports:

Laura Wood, Chief Democracy Officer for the mayor’s office, said at a hearing on the bill in September that the law could violate the New York State Constitution, which states that voters must be U.S. citizens age 18 or older.

Mayor Bill de Blasio indicated he could veto the bill following the September hearing.
“We’ve done everything that we could possibly get our hands on to help immigrant New Yorkers—including undocumented folks—but…I don’t believe it is legal,” de Blasio told WNYC radio at the time.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams, however, submitted testimony to the September hearing in favor of the bill. “In a democracy, nothing is more fundamental than the right to vote and to say who represents you and your community in elected office…Currently, almost one million New Yorkers are denied this foundational right.”

The legislation was first introduced two years ago, but had not yet gained traction due to the legal concerns.

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