Provisional ballots cast between 7-8 p.m. will be kept separate from the regular Election Day ballots, according to Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum.
The Texas Supreme Court issued a stay on a lower court’s previous order that had allowed Harris County polling locations to remain open until 8 p.m., forcing the county to close the polls and segregate the provisional ballots cast.
This comes after a request by the Office of the Attorney General, which asked the Supreme Court to put a stop to the 334th District Court’s order, describing it as “flagrantly violat[ing] the Texas Election Code,” according to the attorney general’s petition provided by the county attorney’s office.
As a result, provisional votes will not be added to the count.
“Those ballots will be further addressed by the court, [and] nothing is being thrown out,” Tatum said.
Posted 6:48 p.m.
All 781 polling locations across Harris County will remain open until 8 p.m. following a lawsuit filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project.
County Attorney Christian Menefee said in a statement to Community Impact that the TCRP, an Austin-based nonprofit organization that advocates for voting rights, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Texas Organizing Project, a nonprofit advocacy group, after several polling locations did not open on time. The polls were originally set to be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
According to the lawsuit, 12 polling locations opened at least one hour late, and those delays prevented voters from casting a ballot at that time.
Judge Dawn Rogers of the 334th District Court granted TCRP's request. As a result, voters in line before 7 p.m. will cast regular ballots, and voters who join the line after 7 p.m. and before 8 p.m. will cast provisional ballots.
Per Sec. 41.032 of the Texas Election Code, an election judge must allow voters waiting to enter a polling location when the polls close to vote.
In a statement from Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum, voters cast provisional ballots in the same manner as regular ballots, except they will place the two-sheet paper record in a sealed provision ballot envelope instead of scanning the record. All provisional ballots will be tabulated separately inside the Central Count station located at NRG Arena.
According to Tatum, early voting results will be posted after the polls close at 8 p.m.