Wisconsin To Count Absentee Ballots Up To Six Days After Election, Judge Rules

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Adam Barnes General Assignment Reporter
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A federal judge ruled Monday that absentee ballots in Wisconsin postmarked on or before Nov. 3 can be counted an additional six days after the election.

The ruling was a result of a lawsuit stemming from the April presidential primary that saw poll staffing issues and thousands of mail-in ballots submitted  after the election, the Associated Press reported. The previous law required that absentee ballots be cast by 8pm on election night.

U.S. District Judge William Conley, an appointee of former President Barack Obama who also extended the ballot return time by a week in April, placed a hold a ruling to give time for an appeal, the report added.

“This ruling is a victory for democracy,” Jonathan Manes, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center, said. “Every voter should be able to vote easily, safely, and accessibly, no matter where they live or who they are. Today’s decision brings us closer to that goal.”

Conley also extended the Oct. 14 deadline to register for electronic and mail voting by 7 days, and ruled that poll workers can work in multiple counties, per the report.

“While the Legislature would opt to disregard the voting rights of these so-called procrastinators, Wisconsin’s election system sets them up for failure in light of the near certain impacts of this ongoing pandemic,” Conley wrote in his decision.

The ruling comes days after a Michigan court ruled that all mail-in ballots would be counted up to 7 days after the presidential election if they were postmarked by November 3.

Current polling in Wisconsin shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holding a 6.7% lead over President Donald Trump, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average. Trump won the state by under a percent in 2016.