WASHINGTON – Minnesota officials are urging voters to return absentee ballots in person after a federal court on Thursday unexpectedly raised doubts over whether ballots arrived in the mail after March 3. November is counted in the presidential race or not.
In an extraordinary 2-1 decision less than a week before Election Day, the US Court of Appeals for Round 8 ordered Minnesota to reserve the votes that came after November 3 and warned that the ballots for the president on those votes may be void. once a legal challenge occurs. The ruling comes after the state has sent more than one million ballots with instructions that postmarked ballots before Election Day will be accepted within seven days thereafter.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted on Thursday night, “NO more mail ballots.”; Appearing in video on Thursday, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon also had a similar message, telling voters they could bring the absentee ballot to the elections office or another approved polling place, or can still directly vote.
“Don’t risk it. Don’t put it in the mail, ”Simon said. He said that about 399,000 absentee ballots had been sent to voters and had not yet been returned, although he said it is possible some of them have already been on the way and possibly on 3 November.
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The Secretary of State’s website has a call for voters at the top of the home page to manually return absentee ballots.
“If you still have a home absentee ballot, YOU MUST send it manually to the elections office or official mailing box. DO NOT use the mail to return your absentee ballot. You can also choose to vote in person early or on Election Day, ”reads the page.
This summer, Simon signed an agreement to extend the state’s absentee ballot for the November election, in response to a lawsuit brought by voting rights groups challenging the Election Day deadline in pandemic coronavirus. A state court judge signed the agreement, which means the state will count ballots that are postmarked in time and arriving on November 10.
The Republican candidates serving as the presidential electoral college for Minnesota then sued to oppose the deal in federal court. A federal district judge found the electors were ineligible to sue the lawsuit and the electors subsequently asked for Line 8 to take part. President Donald Trump’s campaign briefly intervened in the state court case to protest the deadline extension and this week joined Republicans in the state in asking for the Court The Minnesota Supreme split the pending ballots legal challenges to the deadline extension.
Two majority Street 8 judges wrote in Thursday’s decision that electors were likely to win their argument that Simon unconstantly usurped power of the state legislature, capital sets a deadline for Election Day, by agreeing to extend it. The judges wrote that they understood they were creating “challenges” for election officials, as the election has five days to go, but they believe it ordered the state to separate after November. 3 ballots now while the case is pending is a better option than figuring out what to do if they are interspersed and eventually voided later.
“Better to notify those voters now while they still have at least some time to adjust their plans and vote in an unquestionably legal way,” judges Bobby Shepherd and L Steven Grasz, who was nominated by former President George. W. Bush and the latter of Trump.
Judge Jane Kelly disagreed, writing that the order of her colleagues “would confuse voters and undermine the confidence of the Minnesotans in the electoral process.” In the footnote, she wrote that it was unclear how state election officials were supposed to separate the presidential votes from those in other Minnesota ballot races, or whether Does the state have to count separately the presidential votes mentioned in the wait.
Kelly, the only Round 8 judge nominated by former President Barack Obama, wrote that she couldn’t convince voters to sue, but even if they did, she still thinks they will still lose the lawsuit because the Minnesota legislature has assigned certain legislative powers to the secretary of state to set electoral practices. She also noted that the Minnesota legislature did not go to court to oppose the agreement to extend the absentee ballot; one of the candidates to sue, Eric Lucero, is the representative of the Republican party.
“At this point, it is simply too late for any absent voter to mail their ballot to do so with the confidence that it will arrive on Election Day. The court ban has the effect of telling voters – who so far have the impression that they have to send their ballots until November 3 – that they should have sent their ballots yesterday (or just more accurate than a few days ago) ”, Kelly wrote. “With a court order in place, few eligible Minnesotans will be able to exercise their basic right to vote.”
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Lucero wrote in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the Race 8 mandate was “an important victory for Minnesota voters, fair elections and the rule of law.”
“Secretary Simon should have gone to the Legislature to change state law instead of introducing confusion into the age-old voting process by attempting to unilaterally rewrite state statute,” writes Lucero.