A Michigan court has denied a two week extension for absentee ballots.
A Michigan court overturned an extension that allowed absentee ballots to be received two weeks after Election Day, ruling that the votes must instead be received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
The ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals marks a reversal of a lower court decision and hands a win to Republicans in a crucial swing state, undercutting Democrats’ efforts to ease restrictions on voting in a cycle when the coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause a spike in mail-in ballots.
The lower court had ruled last month that ballots could be counted within two weeks of Election Day if they were postmarked by Nov. 2, batting down arguments from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature that the pandemic and slowdowns at the U.S. Postal Service were not adequate reasons to extend the deadline.
But the appeals court decided differently, arguing that the virus’s spread and mail delivery issues “are not attributable to the state” and noting that “additional ballot deliver[y] options [are] available to absentee voters,” including nearly 1,000 drop boxes and satellite voting sites.
“To be sure, the pandemic has caused 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,” wrote appellate Judges Thomas Cameron, Mark Boonstra and Michael Gadola.
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