DETROIT (AP) — Absentee ballots must arrive by Election Day to be counted, the Michigan Court of Appeals said Friday, blocking a 14-day extension that had been ordered by a lower court and embraced by key Democratic officials in a battleground state.
Any changes must rest with the Legislature, not the judiciary, the Republican-appointed appeals court judges said in a 3-0 opinion.
Absentee ballot extensions in Wisconsin and Indiana have also been overturned by higher courts.
Michigan’s ability to handle a flood of ballots will be closely watched in a state that was narrowly won by President Donald Trump in 2016. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson last week said 2.7 million people had requested absentee ballots, a result of a change in law that makes them available to any voter.
Michigan law says absentee ballots must be turned in by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be valid. But Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens had ordered that any ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 could be counted if they arrived within two weeks after the Nov. 3 election.
Stephens said there was “unrefuted evidence” about mail delivery problems because of the coronavirus pandemic. She said more than 6,400 ballots arrived too late to be counted in the August primary.
The appeals court, however, said the pandemic and any delivery woes “are not attributable to the state.”
“Although those factors may complicate plaintiffs’ voting process, they do not automatica... (Read more)
Submitted 12 days ago