Court stops 10-day extension of Indiana absentee ballots

"Courtroom Gavel" by Joe Gratz, public domain

INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Absentee ballots cast in Indiana must arrive by noon on Election Day to be counted, a federal appeals court said Tuesday, spiking a 10-day extension ordered by a judge.

A judge had cited slow mail delivery because of the coronavirus as a reason for extending the count if ballots were postmarked by Nov. 3. But the appeals court, in a 3-0 opinion, overturned the decision and said Indiana’s noon rule still stands.

The “pandemic has caused great loss but is not a good reason for the federal judiciary to assume tasks that belong to politically responsible officials,” said Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It is rational to require absentee votes to be received by Election Day, just as in-person voting ends on Election Day. … Counting the votes, and announcing the results, as soon as possible after the polls close serves a civic interest,” Easterbrook wrote.

The lawsuit was filed by Common Cause Indiana and the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. They said about 1,500 ballots in Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, and 400 in Hamilton County were rejected in the primary election because they arrived after the noon deadline.

Indiana voters who want a mail-in ballot must apply by Oct. 22. They also must have a reason accepted by the state.

The 7th Circuit has stopped an effort to count late-arriving ballots in Wisconsin. Republicans in Michigan are in a different court appealing a decision to count absentee ballots that arrive 14 days after the election.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Most know now who they plan to vote for so vote now. You do not need an extension. Only two possible winners. 1) a cognitively challenged old white guy who is the candidate because the other choices self destructed… supports free stuff, higher costs on everyone ( if a business tax goes up the cost is passed on to us) repealing the trump tax cut which gave everyone who paid federal tax a cut of $2000 if it goes away… surprise our taxes go up by $2000 and the green new deal that has a few good ideas with a lot of really bad ones. 2) an irritating blow hard who would be best served by someone taking his phone. Some really strong economic leadership and strong middle east policies that have decreased conflict between Israel and its neighbors. He did not even bribe any of them with 1.5 billion dollars like the Obama/Biden presidency did.

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