One of the plaintiffs trying to throw out drive-thru votes in Harris County, Texas, is a COVID and QAnon conspiracy theorist

Steven Hotze image

Texas Republicans have petitioned a federal court to potentially throw out more than 100,000 ballots cast in drive-thru voting in Harris County, Texas. One of the plaintiffs is right-wing commentator Steven Hotze, a QAnon conspiracy theorist who has said that the coronavirus is “much ado about nothing” and speculated that the “deep state could have been the ones that orchestrated this whole viral problem with the virus.” 

Hotze is a plaintiff along with Republican congressional candidate Wendell Champion, Texas State Rep. Steve Toth, and Republican judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill. Their petition, as summarized by the Statesman, claims “that drive-thru voting is an illegal expansion of curbside voting, which state law reserves for voters who have an illness or disability that could put them at risk if forced to enter a polling place.” That argument is bogus: The voting sites that accepted the ballots now being challenged were approved by Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs, who was appointed by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and the sites were set up in consultation with local Republican officials. And Texas Republicans waited until after more than 100,000 ballots were cast via drive-thru lanes to argue that those voting sites are contrary to Texas election laws. 

Their petition is scheduled to be heard on November 2 before United States District Judge Andrew Scott Hanen

Hotze has a long and disreputable history, especially regarding the coronavirus: 

  • In March, Hotze claimed of the coronavirus: “This is going to pass like every other one of these hysterical, infectious disease concerns have passed over the years. We’re going to be fine.” 

  • Also in March, Hotze dismissed COVID-19 as “not very contagious” and “much ado about nothing.” He also told people to “conduct your life normally” and “let the coronavirus run its course.” (Even though he’s dismissed concerns about the coronavirus, Hotze has attempted to profit from the pandemic by selling a line of “immune” packages to people.)  

  • While talking about the coronavirus, Hotze claimed that there’s a “war between the patriots and the deep state” and “this could be part of that deeper war going on. Deep state could have been the ones that orchestrated this whole viral problem with the virus. It could be, I’m not saying it happened, but it could be that.”

  • Hotze is a QAnon conspiracy theorist who has repeated the slogan of the conspiracy theory (“where we go one, we go all”) and touted a key component of QAnon regarding supposed “sealed indictments.” QAnon has been linked to numerous acts of violence and the FBI has labeled the conspiracy theory a potential domestic terrorism threat. 

  • In June, Hotze left a voice message for Gov. Abbott saying that he should order the National Guard “to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill 'em. Thank you.” 

  • Hotze is an anti-LGBTQ bigot who has claimed that “‘Satanic cults’ were driving the ‘homosexual movement,’” compared LGBTQ people to “Nazis,” and said that Houston residents should “drive” LGBTQ people “out of our city.”