Supreme Court rejects extension of absentee ballot deadline in Wisconsin

Democrats just lost a legal battle in the battleground state of Wisconsin.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against reinstating a court order that would have extended Wisconsin’s deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.¬†

Background

On September 21st, a U.S. District Court judge in Wisconsin had ruled in favor of a six-day extension for the receipt of absentee ballots, Politico reported.

This would have pushed to state’s due date from the closing of the polls on November 3rd, election day, to November 9th. All that would have been required is that the votes be postmarked by the 3rd.

That order was subsequently challenged by Wisconsin Republicans, and, at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, they won. The appellate court, by a vote of 2 to 1, suspended the lower court’s ruling.

This time it was the Democrats’ turn to challenge the decision, and this is what brought the case up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s over

There, the case was decided by a vote of 5 to 3. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the Court’s four conservative justices, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas.

Democrats had argued that, without such an extension, thousands of votes could go uncounted because of the burden that could be put on the system by the large number of votes that are expected to be cast by mail.

The conservative justices didn’t really touch this argument. Rather, they correctly pointed out that the judiciary ought not to be doing things like granting voting extensions in the middle of an election. According to Politico, Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh argued that allowing such an extension would open the door to micromanagement of elections by the federal courts.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote his own concurring opinion, while liberal Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor all joined in a dissent.

Looking forward

Wisconsin is one of the key battleground states this election with 10 electoral votes.

According to the FiveThirtyEight poll aggregator, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden currently holds a 7 point lead on President Donald Trump. Trump, in 2016, was the first Republican to win Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan back in 1984.

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