Supreme Court Puts Kibosh on Wisconsin’s Late Arriving Absentee Ballots
With only one week left before the election, this decision could have an enormous impact on the nation.
This 2020 election is a contest like no other, and its uniqueness brings with it a number of quirky and chaotic storylines.
At the very forefront of this high strangeness is the fact that we’re attempting to hold this election during the height of a coronavirus pandemic that is surging and crescendoing just as our political chaos does the same.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced a great many Americans to vote outside of their normal channels as well, hoping to avoid large crowds on election day in order to mitigate their risk of contracting the virus. Absentee ballots, unsolicited mail-in ballots, and early voting have all been extremely popular methods for voters hoping to stay safe, but there have been concerns about the timing of announcing the election results, particularly as the US Postal Service seems to be struggling to deal with the uptick in mail.
Wisconsin was hoping to extend the ballot count deadline until after the election, but the Supreme Court has decided against that.
The Supreme Court on Monday night voted against reinstating an order by a Wisconsin federal court judge that said absentee ballots could be counted if received within six days after the election as long as they were postmarked by Election Day. The final vote was 5-3.
The ruling came down as the Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as the newest justice to the Supreme Court, solidifying the conservative majority to 6-3.
Wisconsin is one of about 30 states that require absentee ballots be received by Election Day to be counted. A federal district judge previously concluded the deadline violated Wisconsin voters’ rights in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and agreed to extend it by six days, until November 9.
A Chicago-based federal appeals court then blocked the judge’s order, saying it violated Supreme Court precedent by changing state election rules too close to an election and usurping state legislative authority to change the state’s rules.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s take on the matter included verbiage similar to statements made by President Trump indicating that not having election results on election day could lead to chaos and confusion around the country.
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