What is happening here? Supreme Court allows yet another state to extend voter deadline for mail-in ballots


With mail-in voting a complete and utter debacle in itself, some states have asked for extensions in receiving and counting mail-in ballots, and they were granted them. 

LET brought you the story in September of Pennsylvania being granted an extension that will allow mail-in ballots to be counted three days after Election Day. 

Likewise in North Carolina, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper received a nine day extension for ballots to count. 

Democrats have claimed that the extensions are necessary due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the fact that the postal system is running at a slower pace than normal because of it. 

President Donald Trump has been a very outspoken opponent of mail-in voting, questioning its validity and reliability. 

In addition to President Trump’s concerns, the Republican Party and GOP legislators opposed the extensions that were given to the states as well, and sought to have them overturned. 

On Wednesday, October 28th, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to deny a request by Republicans to overturn the decisions made by Democrats to allow the extensions. 

Justices Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas objected in both cases, according to The Washington Post. They also noted that the newly-sworn-in Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the decision in either case, and indicated that because the decision needed to be address swiftly, and she only just started her position, she did not have time to fully review the cases.

The decision to allow Pennsylvania’s extension is key, because it is a major battleground state that proved vital to President Trump’s 2016 election, and a state he needs to win this year as well.  

Republicans had lost in both the district court and at the Fourth Circuit.

Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers also requested an extension, however, his request was rejected in a 5-3 vote, with Republicans in the majority. 

This is a win for Republicans, as Wisconsin is state that President Trump narrowly won in 2016, and is showing him polling behind former Vice President Joe Biden in this upcoming election 

The Washington Post reported that different decisions appeared based on a difference noted by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: that the court should be reluctant to approve changes imposed by federal judges, as in Wisconsin, but view those imposed by state courts or agencies differently, as was the case in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman, Ben Wikler was not even trying to hide his ulterior motive for wanting the extension, as following the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday, he said:

“The most powerful rebuke to Republican judicial activism is to defeat Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in a landslide,”  

He continued:

“The Democratic Party of Wisconsin will double down on making sure that every Wisconsin voter knows how to exercise their right to vote in the final eight days of this election.”

Other states have tried for extensions and were denied like Wisconsin. Earlier this month, Law Enforcement Today told you about the Republican win in Michigan to deny their extension. 

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Head’s up voters in Michigan! We got some important changes you need to know before you vote.

Mark your calendars. An appeals court ruled Friday, October 16, 2020,  absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020, to count. Yes, that’s Election Day. This blocks a ruling that had extended the deadline.

Friday’s ruling means it reinstated some prohibitions against third-party ballot collections. This means voters can’t designate any person of their choice to deliver their mail ballots to election officials. 

This is a huge win for Republicans in the critical battleground state. Democratic groups that brought the original case to ease the restrictions of mail-in voting are feeling pain. This is not what the Democrats wanted to happen.

The state’s Republican-controlled Legislature had brought the appeal to the appellate court. They said the coronavirus pandemic, and ongoing US Postal Service slowdowns weren’t adequate reasons to extend the absentee ballot deadline. The above-cited reasons were especially not enough to ease restrictions on third-party ballot collection.

The appeals court agreed. They did overturn the ruling. The September ruling in question said absentee ballots postmarked by the day before Election Day must be counted if they arrive within two weeks of Election Day.

While Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens had found that there was “unrefuted evidence” of the pandemic affecting the mail delivery timeline, the appeals court judges said the pandemic and delivery slowdown “are not attributable to the state.”

In other words: Michigan is not the only one having to deal with these issues. It’s a nationwide thing.

Appellate Judges Thomas Cameron, Mark Boonstra, and Michael Gadola wrote:

“Although those factors may complicate the plaintiffs’ voting process, they do not automatically amount to a loss of the right to vote absentee.”

The judges pointed to the nearly 1,000 drop boxes, and numerous satellite voting locations made available throughout the state.  They showed that all efforts were being made to make it easier for voters to deliver their absentee ballots, according to CNN.  

In other words, an extension was not needed. The judges wrote:

To be sure, the pandemic has caused a considerable change in our lives, but election officials have taken considerable steps to alleviate the potential effects by making no-reason absent voting easier for the 2020 election.”

The ruling echoes similar decisions that blocked absentee ballot extensions in Indiana and Wisconsin.

Michigan, like many states across the country, is anticipating a flood of absentee ballots. This is due, of course, to the pandemic. The Great Lakes State is a top battleground this year after President Trump won it by less than 11,000 votes in 2016.

Democrats fiercely fought for expanding absentee ballot rules. The reason is that polls show the party’s base is more willing than Republicans to submit votes by mail.

The GOP hailed the Friday evening ruling, with Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel calling it:

“Great news for election integrity!”

The Michigan Democratic Party said it was disappointed in the decision, but did not clarify if it intends to appeal the ruling.

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement:

“Voters should not be punished for delays in the U.S. Postal Service or for unexpected emergencies that could make it a challenge for them to get to the polls on election day. Our courts should be following the example set by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and reinforcing efforts that remove barriers to voting.”

The judges sided with the GOP-controlled Legislature. The legislator claimed that implementing stricter ballot-handling restrictions was “intended to combat voter fraud.”

There is no proof of widespread voter fraud in US elections, including mail balloting. The statement continued:

“The Michigan Democratic Party continues to encourage voters to request an absentee ballot immediately, fill it out when it arrives and return it to their local clerk’s office as soon as possible.”


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