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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Michigan joins Pennsylvania in extending mail-in ballot deadlines by several days after the election, due to the coronavirus pandemic and expected delays in U.S. Postal Service.

The latest: Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that all ballots postmarked before Nov. 2 must be counted, so long as they arrive in the mail before election results are certified. Michigan will certify its general election results on Nov. 23.

Why it matters: Official results in most states are not certified until several weeks after Election Day, this ruling could improve voter turnout, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Details: Stephens made the ruling, which is likely to be appealed, in a lawsuit brought by the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans

  • Stephens said she heard evidence of ballots in the August primaries being routed out of state, which contributed to the "over 6.400 otherwise valid ballots that were rejected for having been received after the Election Day receipt deadline."
  • Stephens ruled that absentee voters could get transportation from anyone to return their ballots to local clerks.
  • She also wrote in her decision that "incidences of voter fraud and absentee ballot fraud are minimal and that the fears of the same are largely exaggerated."
  • Michigan's Republican-led House and Senate, the Michigan Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee have sought to intervene in the case, but their appeal options remain unclear, according to the Free Press.

What they're saying: The ruling is "especially critical for the 1.6 million Michigan voters who are over the age of 65 and whose health is most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Free Press reported Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, as saying.

Go deeper: When and how to vote in all 50 states

Go deeper

Georgia's early voting starts with heavy turnout

Voters wait in line to vote at the Buckhead Library in Atlanta on the first day of in-person early voting for the Georgia Senate runoff election. Photo: Jason Armond/Getty Images

Georgia's on an early path to a huge turnout in the two runoffs to decide control of the U.S. Senate, according to data from the Georgia Secretary of State's Office crunched by Axios.

By the numbers: Voters cast 482,000 ballots in roughly the first day and a half of early voting this week. That’s equivalent to one-third of the total in the last statewide general election runoff, held in 2018, and about one-fourth of the total ballots in the last Senate runoff, held in 2008.

Updated Dec 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Electoral College affirms Biden's victory

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Biden officially received the majority of Electoral College votes on Monday, further solidifying his victory even though the outcome of the election has been known for weeks.

Why it matters: The Electoral College result affirms Biden as the next president after weeks of President Trump's false accusations that the election was stolen from him, dozens of failed legal challenges from the Trump campaign, and protests threatening the safety of states' electors.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

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