Michigan court reinstates strict absentee ballot deadline


In a blow to local Democrats, judges in the swing state of Michigan ruled Friday that absentee ballots must reach county and local clerks offices by Nov. 3 in order to count in the general election.

The decision by a three-judge Court of Appeals panel means that ballots arriving later than 8 p.m. on election day won’t be counted, even if they were postmarked by Nov. 2.

The decision reverses a lower court ruling that would have allowed  an extra two weeks, so long as the ballots were postmarked before election day.

Also reversed are provisions that would have let intermediaries deliver ballots to clerks’ offices.

The decision is the latest court action in a lawsuit brought by the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans and other voting rights groups, seeking to overturn what they saw as a  deadline that had become unconstitutionally restrictive, given the constraints of the pandemic.

The appellate judges — all three of whom were GOP appointees —  found that sufficient steps had been taken by the state to accommodate voters, including the addition of satellite clerk’s offices and some 1,000 new ballot boxes.

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