A Michigan judge on ruled on Friday that the state must accept ballots that arrive within two weeks of the election, as long as they are postmarked by November 2nd. The judge also said that the state – which was decided by 10,000 votes in 2016 – cannot restrict who can help voters return an absentee ballot.
This is very significant and the second ruling this week in a key swing state extending the ballot receipt deadline. The Pennsylvania supreme court ruled yesterday that ballots in the state must count if they are postmarked by election day and arrive by Friday after.
— Sam Levine (@srl) September 18, 2020
Michigan joins Pennsylvania in recent mail-in-ballot rulings, after a top state court on Thursday relaxed a deadline related to accepting ballots as long as they’re postmarked no later than November 3 and arrive within three days (as opposed to two weeks in Michigan).
Here’s how election lawsuits in other key swing-states are shaping up, via The Hill.
In Florida there’s a major dispute over steps which former felons must take in order to regain their right to vote – which could affect nearly 800,000 votes. An estimated two-thirds of affected felons are Black and tend to lean Democrat.
The fight traces back to a 2018 amendment to Florida’s constitution — known as Voting Restoration Amendment 4 — that restored voting rights to those with most types of felony convictions who had completed “all terms” of their sentences.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) the following year signed into law a bill that obligated Floridians with felony records to settle all outstanding court debt before their voting rights were reinstated. Democrats and civil rights groups say the law is an unconstitutional modern-day version of a Jim Crow-era poll tax.
The case eventually made its way up to the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this month, the Atlanta-based court voted 6-4 to uphold a Florida law requiring indigent former felons to pay off outstanding court fees as a precondition to having their voting rights restored. –The Hill
In Wisconsin, residents filed a class action lawsuit against state election officials and lawmakers over the state’s controversial April 7 primary election – which was fraught with last-minute legal and political wrangling over the state’s alleged failure to create reasonable accommodations for primary voters amid the pandemic which forced thousands to “sacrifice their vote rather than run the risk of in-person voting during America’s worst infectious disease outbreak in more than a century.” Plaintiffs want the court to recognize the state’s past failings and avoid a repeat in November.
In Arizona, a lawsuit over how the state handles ballots cast at the wrong polling location is working its way through their legal system. Currently, election administrators are required to toss ballots which were ‘miscast’ at the wrong location.
Arizona Republicans say out-of-precinct policies are common across the U.S. and help ensure ineligible voters do not cast ballots in local races for officeholders who are running to represent a different geographic area. –The Hill
Another lawsuit in Arizona, H.B. 2023, would criminalize the collection and delivery of someone else’s ballot – which The Hill says is overwhelmingly more likely to affect minority voters than whites.