2020 voting
November 2, 2020

Joe Straus, the former Republican speaker of the Texas House, on Sunday voiced his opposition to a GOP lawsuit seeking to throw out around 127,000 drive-thru votes in the state's most populous county.

"The lawsuit to disenfranchise more than 100,000 voters in Harris County is patently wrong," Straus said in a statement that he shared on Twitter, adding that "the Republican Party needs to return to a place where we win with ideas and persuasion rather than trying to intimidate and silence our fellow citizens."

Straus also teamed up with another prominent Texas Republican, lawyer Ben Ginsberg, to file an amicus brief opposing the suit, in which they cited the 2000 election recount as an example of the party's past efforts to ensure the ballots of "every qualified voter" get counted.

The Texas Supreme Court did throw some cold water on the suit Sunday, denying the petition to toss the votes without comment, but the amicus could still factor into the decision by a federal judge, who will hear the case Monday morning. Tim O'Donnell

November 1, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court on Saturday denied a petition brought forth by Republicans to toss out 127,000 ballots cast in drive-thru lanes in Harris County, the Lone Star State's most populous county and home to Houston, The Austin-American Statesman reports. The opinion, which is viewed as a victory for Democrats, was made without comment.

The plaintiffs — including conservative activist Steven Hotze, state Rep. Steve Toth (R), congressional candidate Wendell Champion, and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill — have argued drive-thru voting sites are an illegal expansion of curbside voting that violates Texas election law and the U.S. Constitution. The state's high court didn't agree, but there is an emergency hearing at the federal court level scheduled for Monday, so the votes remain in jeopardy. Still, Harris County attorneys reportedly believe that the Texas decision will prompt the district judge to rule similarly. Tim O'Donnell

October 14, 2020

Virginians will have an extra 48 hours to register to vote in the upcoming general election. A judge granted the state's request to extend the deadline, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, until Thursday evening, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, an accidentally severed fiber optic cable — which was reportedly cut during a roadside utilities project — shut down several state government websites, including those that were part of the online voter registration system, causing problems for thousands of potential voters and many registrar's offices across the state for several hours.

A voting rights group sued for the extension, but the Virginia officials who were the defendants in the case agreed adding more time was necessary to make up for the mishap. Tim O'Donnell

October 13, 2020

Virginia's citizen portal and registrar's offices shut down Tuesday, the final day to register to vote before the November election, following a fiber optic cable cut that shut down other government agency sites, as well.

Local news station WUSA9 described the cut as accidental, and a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Elections said "Verizon technicians are on site and working to to repair" the severed cable. Still, the incident could affect thousands of Virginia voters, The Washington Post reports. Judy Brown, the general registrar in Virginia's Loudoun County, told the Post "we have no idea what's happening" and the disruption reportedly forced her office to manually confirm the registration status of county voters who cast early ballots Tuesday.

Virginia Beach officials have reportedly had trouble processing early ballots because of the cut. Apparently, per the Post, very few voters accepted an offer to instead fill out provisional ballots, which are typically counted last in an election, choosing to wait for the system to come back. "It's affecting everyone," said Christine Lewis, Virginia Beach's deputy registrar for elections. "Just because one wire got cut." Read more at The Associated Press and The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

October 7, 2020

More than 4 million Americans have voted already, more than 50 times more than the number that had cast ballots at this point in the 2016 election, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing data from the United States Elections Project.

"We've never seen this many people voting so far ahead of an election," said Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, who administers the project. "People cast their ballots when they make up their minds, and we know that many people made up their minds long ago and already have a judgment about Trump."

The voting pace is setting up what could be record turnout in the showdown between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. McDonald said that with 4 million ballots already in four weeks before Election Day, turnout could reach 65 percent of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908. Harold Maass

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