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Signs for Joe Biden are seen outside a home in Coon Valley, Wisconsin, on Oct. 3. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Gettyy

Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes, warning that the U.S. Postal Service may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court 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. In Michigan, absentee ballots must also be received by 8pm on Election Day in order to be counted.

Why it matters: Both Wisconsin and Michigan are critical swing states that President Trump won by thin margins in 2016.

  • In Wisconsin, 1,451,462 of the 1,778,157 voters who requested absentee ballots have already returned them, according to the New York Times. That leaves 326,695 ballots that Wisconsin Democrats have mobilized to track down.
  • In Michigan, more than 3.1 million voters have requested absentee ballots and about 2.1 million had been returned as of Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Between the lines: While Wisconsin does not track the party affiliation of voters who request absentee ballots, states that do found that Democrats requested nearly two-thirds of absentee ballots this fall, according to the Times.

What they’re saying:

  • Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Ben Wikler tweeted after the Supreme Court ruling: “We’re phone banking. We’re text banking. We’re friend banking. We’re drawing chalk murals, driving sound trucks through neighborhoods, & flying banners over Milwaukee. We’re running ads in every conceivable medium."
  • Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement: "We are too close to Election Day, and the right to vote is too important, to rely on the Postal Service to deliver absentee ballots. Citizens who already have an absentee ballot should sign the back of the envelope and hand-deliver it to their city or township clerk’s office or ballot drop box as soon as possible."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that Jocelyn Benson is Michigan's secretary of state (not attorney general).

Go deeper

Dec 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Early voting begins in Georgia's key Senate runoffs

Voters line outside the High Museum polling station in Atlanta, Georgia on the first day of voting in the state's Senate runoffs. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

People lined up outside polling places across Georgia on Monday for the first day of early voting in the state's two runoff elections that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: More than 1.2 million people have already requested mail-in absentee ballots and more than 260,000 have returned them as of Monday, per data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

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.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate will now work through votes on a series of amendments that are expected to last overnight into early Saturday morning.