Early voting in Texas blazed across the state thanks to a week extension of the period due to pandemic concerns. By the end of the early voting period, turnout reached a record high at 57.3%, which was close to 2 points from the total of the 2016 election ballots cast, according to The Texas Tribune. The voting process was expedited with drive-thru voting in Harris County, resulting in over 1 million early votes in the region.
In the first four days of early voting, 42,000 residents used the drive-thru method, according to ABC 13.
“I have been in Chick-fil-A lines longer than voting today,” Houston resident Tu Fini said via Facebook, an experience many can relate with.
Drive-thru voting is an option for those who feel uncomfortable standing in line for hours surrounded by so many voters. Why not wait in the comfort of your vehicle with music and air-conditioning? So long as the ballots are secured there should be no issue.
The notion of drive-thru voting seems stereotypically American and is a good practice that ought to be more widespread.
However, Republican groups have sought to ban the practice by claiming it was illegal, according to The Texas Tribune. Republicans seem to invalidate any practice that makes voting easier for residents, perhaps they believe that higher turnout will benefit the Democrats.
The GOP’s case is that drive-thru voting acts as a form of curbside voting which is reserved for the disabled or vulnerable, according to The Texas Tribune. This should be disregarded. Curbside voting should be available to everyone, it makes no difference if someone votes from their vehicle or inside the polling location.
The polling place structure is another point being made. Republicans say the fact that these polling places are outside in tents instead of in buildings mandated by Texas Law, is an issue, according to NBC. This issue has more to do with the location than the practice itself.
Although the drive-thru locations were not satisfactory, the method is still legitimate and may be utilized for future elections. This ought to be the first of many measures to make voting more convenient for the American people, such as automatic registration and making Election Day a federal holiday.