In a defeat to members of the right flank of the state's Republican Party, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Wednesday
that early voting in the state can move ahead on October 13.
This summer, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order adding six days to early voting for the November general election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and GOP members of the Texas Legislature filed suit over the move, arguing that it violates state election law.
Rendering the majority opinion, Chief Justice Nathan Hecht pointed out that the plaintiff's request comes so late it would disrupt the election. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that changes to election processes shouldn't come at the 11th hour, he added.
"When the record fails to show that petitioners have acted diligently to protect their rights, relief by mandamus is not available," Hecht wrote. "The record here reflects no justification for the relators’ lengthy delay."
The sole dissenter on the eight-judge panel, Justice John Devine, wrote that the suit raises issues of constitutionality and that the timing didn't justify dismissing the suit.
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