Supreme Court rejects Democrat request to extend Wisconsin mail-in voting deadline until six days after Election Day

 The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a request by Wisconsin Democrats to allow an extension for mail-in ballots that are received after Election Day. 

In a 5-3 order, the justices on Monday refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the November 3 election. 

The court action keeps in place a state policy that mail-in ballots be in the hands of election officials by the close of polls.


The three liberal justices dissented from the order that the court issued just before the Senate started voting on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination.  

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a request by Wisconsin Democrats to allow an extension for mail-in ballots that are received after Election Day (Pictured: Madison, Wis. residents Theola Carter, left, and Carrie Braxton fill out their ballots on the first day of the state's in-person absentee voting window on Thursday)

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a request by Wisconsin Democrats to allow an extension for mail-in ballots that are received after Election Day (Pictured: Madison, Wis. residents Theola Carter, left, and Carrie Braxton fill out their ballots on the first day of the state's in-person absentee voting window on Thursday)

In a 5-3 order, the justices on Monday refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the November 3 election

In a 5-3 order, the justices on Monday refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the November 3 election

Chief Justice John Roberts last week joined the liberals to preserve a Pennsylvania state court order extending the absentee ballot deadline but voted the other way in the Wisconsin case, which has moved through federal courts.

'Different bodies of law and different precedents govern these two situations and require, in these particular circumstances, that we allow the modification of election rules in Pennsylvania but not Wisconsin,' Roberts wrote.

Democrats argued that the flood of absentee ballots and other challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic make it necessary to extend the period in which ballots can be counted. 


Wisconsin is one of the nation's hot spots for COVID-19, with hospitals treating a record high number of patients with the disease. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said that more than 201,000 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday. 

Republicans opposed the extension, saying that voters have plenty of opportunities to cast their ballots by the close of polls on Election Day and that the rules should not be changed so close to the election.

Wisconsin is crucial to Republican President Donald Trump's re-election chances against Democratic challenger Joe Biden

Wisconsin is crucial to Republican President Donald Trump's re-election chances against Democratic challenger Joe Biden

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler responded to the ruling by pledging Democrats would be 'dialing up a huge voter education campaign' to prod roughly 360,000 people who hadn't yet returned absentee ballots to hand-deliver them by 8pm on Election Day, or to vote in person. 

State Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt praised the ruling.

'Absentee voting in Wisconsin is extremely easy and hundreds of thousands of people have done it already - last-minute attempts to change election laws only cause more voter confusion and erode the integrity of our elections,' he said in a statement. 

The justices often say nothing, or very little, about the reasons for their votes in these emergency cases, but on Monday, four justices wrote opinions totaling 35 pages to lay out their competing rationales.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan wrote in a dissenting opinion that the court's decision 'will disenfranchise large numbers of responsible voters in the midst of hazardous pandemic conditions.'

'As the COVID pandemic rages, the Court has failed to adequately protect the Nation's voters,' Kagan wrote in a dissent that noted the state allowed the six-day extension for primary voting in April and that roughly 80,000 ballots were received after the day of the primary election.

Chief Justice John Roberts (left) last week joined the liberals to preserve a Pennsylvania state court order extending the absentee ballot deadline but voted the other way in the Wisconsin case, which has moved through federal courts. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan (right) wrote in a dissenting opinion that the court's decision 'will disenfranchise large numbers of responsible voters in the midst of hazardous pandemic conditions'

Chief Justice John Roberts (left) last week joined the liberals to preserve a Pennsylvania state court order extending the absentee ballot deadline but voted the other way in the Wisconsin case, which has moved through federal courts. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan (right) wrote in a dissenting opinion that the court's decision 'will disenfranchise large numbers of responsible voters in the midst of hazardous pandemic conditions'

Democrats argued that the flood of absentee ballots and other challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic makes it necessary to extend the period in which ballots can be counted

Democrats argued that the flood of absentee ballots and other challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic makes it necessary to extend the period in which ballots can be counted

Justice Neil Gorsuch acknowledged the complications the pandemic adds to voting, but defended the court's action.

'No one doubts that conducting a national election amid a pandemic poses serious challenges. But none of that means individual judges may improvise with their own election rules in place of those the people's representatives have adopted,' Gorsuch wrote.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh also wrote an opinion concurring in the order.

Wisconsin is crucial to Republican President Donald Trump's re-election chances against Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Trump's narrow victory in the state over Hillary Clinton in 2016 was key to his election victory.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday showed Biden leading Trump by 53 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in the state. 

Supreme Court rejects Democrat request to extend Wisconsin mail-in voting deadline until six days after Election Day Supreme Court rejects Democrat request to extend Wisconsin mail-in voting deadline until six days after Election Day Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:09 Rating: 5

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