Updated Oct 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline

The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2020

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision Monday rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.

Why it matters: All ballots must now be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election.

Of note: The decision came as senators were preparing to vote on confirming President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

What they're saying: Chief Justice Roberts noted that unlike the Pennsylvania case, the Wisconsin one "involves federal intrusion on state lawmaking processes."

  • "Different bodies of law and different precedents govern these two situations and require, in these particular circumstances, that we allow the modification of election rules in Pennsylvania but not Wisconsin," Roberts added.

The other side: The court's liberal justices opposed the decision.

  • In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote, "Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites, through no fault of their own, may receive their mail ballots too late to return them by Election Day."
  • She added that "without the district court's order, they must opt between "brav[ing] the polls," with all the risk that entails, and "los[ing] their right to vote."

Read the decision via DocumentCloud.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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