On Tuesday (November 22), a Texas Supreme Court judge ruled that more than 2,000 votes cast during an extended period on Election Day could be counted in Harris County.
Following a shortage of ballots in Texas’ largest county on Election Day, a judge ruled that polling places hours be extended by one hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
However, the judge’s ruling also extended the time by one hour after state law permits. Texas law requires the state’s polling to end at 7 p.m.
On Monday (November 21), in a petition before the state Supreme Court, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office challenged the ruling.
In Tuesday’s ruling, the state’s Supreme Court allowed the ballots cast between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. to be counted, with the caveat being that they are tallied separately.
Separating the “later cast votes” is a mechanism the court will use to determine if these votes were “outcome-determinative and so that the parties can assess the extent to which further litigation is warranted.”
The number of “later cast votes” was first tweeted by Harris County attorney Christian Menefee, yet the Attorney General’s office hasn’t confirmed the accuracy of this number.
Polling places had to remain open later after dozens of the county’s 782 polling places opened later than they should have, with one polling place in downtown Houston opening four hours after schedule because staff misplaced a key, according to reporting by Houston Public Media.