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KTSU2 Exclusive: Chris Hollins says attempt to void 127,000 drive-thru ballots is voter suppression

Written by on November 1, 2020

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins

By Lydia Dillard and LaTresha Carter

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins and voters won big on Sunday, as the Texas Supreme Court rejected for the second time Texas Republican efforts to have 127,000 drive-thru votes thrown out.

“Those folks will stop at nothing to make sure that the right to vote in this country is limited to a select few,” Hollins said.

Hollins, a Yale University educated attorney and former Texas Southern University School of Communication intern, sat down with TSU professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker for an exclusive interview to explain what this verdict means for the county’s voters.

Hollins believes that this is an attempt by Republican plaintiffs’ Steve Hotze, State Rep. Steve Toth, congressional candidate Wendell Champion and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill to suppress the votes of certain people.

“There is no other way to describe it other than voter suppression. A hundred and twenty-seven-thousand people have cast their votes [drive-thru] fair and square,” Hollins said.

The Texas Supreme Court rejected this same Republican petition to block drive-thru voting on October 22.

Next, the battle will head to federal court Monday, where a judge will decide if the votes will be included or not.

Many Harris county citizens turned to drive-thru voting this election for various reasons. The convenience of drive-thru voting attracted thousands of eager voters during the fluctuating health pandemic.

“Young adults voting for the first time, with their parents right next to them. The proudest moment of their lives,” Hollins said.

Drive-thru voting is completely legal and was approved by the secretary of state in Texas. Hollins said that drive-thru voting was set up and running in July for the primaries without any issues.

“We followed election code to the tee in setting up drive-thru voting, and consulted with the chief election officer of the state of Texas,” Hollins said.

With the help of drive thru voting, Harris county was able to break records in voter turnout. More than 1.4 million Harris County residents cast early votes.

However, the decision to approve the drive-thru votes is not completely finished. Hollins addressed the next step is federal court.

“There is a lot of concern that this judge… might be bias,” Hollins said.

As many citizens are concerned about the impartiality of the federal judge, Hollins assures that the judge will make the right decision.

“This judge took an oath to follow the constitutional laws of the United States. There is no law that in any way would support throwing out these votes,” Hollins said.

Though drive-thru voting is unconventional, it is legal, safe, and efficient in the midst of a global pandemic. This might be the most important election of the century, which has resulted in a large divide between the citizens.

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Hollins insisted that he will fight to ensure that drive-thru voting is continued in Harris County.

“We will have this again in the future. It is a service to Harris County. Part of my legacy will be introducing drive-thru voting here in Harris County,” Hollins said.

Ultimately, Hollins said that this issue solidified the importance of voting.

“Your vote matters. Your vote counts. People wouldn’t waste the time to disenfranchise you if they didn’t know how much your vote matters,” Hollins said.

The case will be reviewed Monday, Nov. 2 by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, who will determine whether or not the 127,000 drive-thru votes will be counted in the upcoming Presidential election on November 3.