A Texas district judge rejected a GOP-led bid to toss 127,000 drive-thru ballots in Harris County, which includes Houston.
The court said the votes are safe and will be counted. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, issued the ruling on Monday.
Hanen ruled that the plaintiffs in the case lack legal standing to challenge the use of 10 drive-thru polling locations that were set up for the first time in 2020 in Harris County. Hanen said that his decision was based on the idea that a person filing a suit must present evidence that they were harmed by an action—not about whether the action was itself illegal.
Hanen's ruling came just a day before Election Day on Nov. 3.
Hanen also said that he personally wouldn't vote via drive-thru.
Jared Woodfill, the attorney representing the group of Republicans who filed the suit, said the move to include drive-thru voting should have been up to the Texas Legislature and not Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat.
"If the legislature chose to do that, they could have, but they didn't," Woodfill argued. "Not an individual clerk that makes up his own mind."
"Voters didn't do anything wrong. They only relied on the instructions of county officials," the county said in response to the filing, adding that the votes could be possibly invalidated.
Hollins responded to the lawsuit last month by saying to Harris County voters that drive-thru voting is legal.
Meanwhile, Democrats hailed the court decision.
"The ruling to let the nearly 127,000 drive-thru votes stand was the correct decision but it doesn't change a simple fact: This should have never been an issue in the first place. Texans who lawfully voted at drive through locations should have never had to fear that their votes wouldn't be counted and their voices wouldn't be heard. This lawsuit was shameful and it should have never seen the light of day," said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, reported ABC13.