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Michigan appeals court reinstates Election Day deadline for absentee ballots

October 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A Michigan appeals court ruled Friday that absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to count, blocking a ruling that had extended the deadline.

(CNN)A Michigan appeals court ruled Friday that absentee ballots must be received by 8 p. m. on Election Day to count, blocking a ruling that had extended the deadline.

Friday's ruling also reinstated some prohibitions against third-party ballot collection, which means voters can no longer designate any person of their choosing to deliver their mail ballots to election officials.

The state's Republican-controlled Legislature had brought the appeal, arguing that the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing US Postal Service slowdowns weren't compelling enough reasons to extend the absentee ballot deadline or to ease restrictions on third-party ballot collection.

The appeals court overturned a sweeping September ruling that said absentee ballots postmarked by the day before Election Day must be counted if they arrive within two weeks of Election Day. While Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens had found that there was "unrefuted evidence" of the pandemic affecting the mail delivery timeline, the appeals court judges said the pandemic and delivery slowdown "are not attributable to the state. "

The judges pointed to the nearly 1,000 drop boxes and numerous satellite voting locations made available throughout the state as further evidence that all efforts were being made to make it easier for voters to deliver their absentee ballots and an extension was not needed.

The judges also sided with the GOP-controlled Legislature, which claimed that implementing stricter ballot-handling restrictions was "intended to combat voter fraud. " There is no proof of widespread voter fraud in US elections, including with mail balloting.

The Michigan Democratic Party said in a statement Friday night that it was "disappointed" by the ruling, but it did not immediately say anything about appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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