After numerous reports that various polling stations across Harris County failed to open on time this morning—a potential violation of the Texas Election Code which requires that polls be open for at least 12 hours on Election Day—a state district judge has ordered nine polls to extend their voting hours to make up for the time lost by the late openings this morning.
The order came as the result of a lawsuit filed Tuesday afternoon by the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas Organizing Project, according to KUHF. The groups pointed out that between the delayed openings, problems with equipment and the resulting long lines, some people ended up not being able to cast their ballots at all.
Harris County election officials initially dismissed the malfunctions and delays as simply being a part of any Election Day process, but the lawsuit contended that not opening on time constituted a violation of the Texas Election Code and could result in a violation of the 14th Amendment.
“The right to vote is a fundamental constitutional right, protected under the Equal Protection Clause from undue burden,” the lawsuit stated, as it urged the court to intercede.
At least 18 voting locations saw some sort of delayed opening, Beth Stevens, legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, told KUHF, but the judge on the case opted to step in and extend the hours for the following polls:
- Iglesia Trinidad, Precinct 0597
- Metcalf Elementary, Precinct 0882
- Evelyn Thompson Elementary, Precinct 0061
- Hampton Inn Katy Fwy, Precinct 0055
- Fiesta Mart, Inc., Precinct 0541
- John Marshall Middle School, Precinct 0046
- HOAPV Community Building, Precinct 0030
- Lone Star College Cypress Center, Precinct 305 and 951
- Houston Community College Alief Center, Precinct 0428