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Breaking: Judge orders pivotal Texas county to keep voting precincts open late — here's why

A federal judge ordered Harris County in Texas to have nine voting precincts stay open an extra hour after the opening was delayed Tuesday morning. (RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal judge has ordered that precincts in a Texas county stay open late in order to accommodate voters after they failed to open on time Tuesday morning.

Here's what happened

The Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas Organizing Project sued the county after delays on election morning in opening polling precincts in Harris County.

Precincts were scheduled to open at 7 a.m. local time, but were delayed by an hour due to technology issues.

The civil rights groups sued because Texas election code requires that polls be open for 12 hours on Election Day — with the extension to 8 p.m., that requirement is met.

"WE WON! We sued Harris County for failing to open nine polling places on time," the Texas Civil Rights Project said. "After we filed our lawsuit, the County Judge ruled that those nine polling places must stay open an extra hour, until 8pm."

"These sites were delayed in opening this morning or had technology issues," they added.

There were nine polling precincts that were ordered to stay open an extra hour:

  • 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 (0030)
  • Lone Star College Cypress Center (Precinct 305 and 951)
  • Houston Community College Alief Center (Precinct 0428)

Will it help Democrats or Republicans?

Harris County contains Houston and went for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 election by a large margin — extending the margin greatly from the slim victory former President Obama had in 2012 in the county. The 12.38 percentage-point margin of victory for the Democrats in 2016 was the largest in the county's recent history.

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