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A polling location in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Photo: DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Wisconsin on Monday extended the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots until up to six days after the Nov. 3 election if they are postmarked by Election Day, AP reports.

Why it matters: The ruling, unless overturned, "means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin likely will not be known for days after polls close," according to AP.

  • Without the decision, ballots would have had to be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

The state of play: The lawsuit was part of a series of challenges from the Democratic National Committee, the Wisconsin Democratic Party and other groups to make absentee voting easier in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Republicans argued that the current rules should stay in place because people have plenty of time to obtain and return ballots.
  • Both sides expect a close election in the battleground state, which President Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.

Worth noting: District Judge William Conley, an Obama appointee, also extended the Oct. 14 deadline for mail-in voting and electronic voter registration until Oct. 21.

The big picture: Judges in four presidential swing states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and now Wisconsin — have ruled that ballots can be counted if they are postmarked by Nov. 2 (or Nov. 3 in Michigan), Business Insider's Grace Panetta notes.

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.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

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