Home Criminal Defense SCOTUS refuses to reinstate prolonged deadline for absentee ballots in Wisconsin

SCOTUS refuses to reinstate prolonged deadline for absentee ballots in Wisconsin

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U.S. Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday nighttime refused to reinstate a decide’s prolonged deadline to rely absentee ballots in Wisconsin.

The vote was 5-3, report SCOTUSblog, the New York Times, Politico and the Washington Post. Democrats and civil rights teams had sought the longer deadline.

U.S. District Judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin had granted the extension, which allowed ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted for six days after the election.

In a concurrence, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. mentioned the case intertwined a federal “intrusion on state lawmaking process.”

“In this case, as in several this court has recently addressed, a district court intervened in the thick of election season to enjoin enforcement of a state’s laws,” Roberts wrote.

Roberts contrasted the case with with one other involving not a federal courtroom resolution however a call by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that utilized the state structure to election laws. In the Pennsylvania case, the Supreme Court split 4-4, leaving in place an extension to rely absentee ballots.

“Different bodies of law and different precedents govern these two situations,” Roberts wrote.

Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, nevertheless, noticed a task for the federal courts to intervene in a state courtroom’s election rulings, in response to Politico’s evaluation. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch every filed separate concurrences, and Kavanaugh additionally joined Gorsuch’s opinion.

“The Constitution provides that state legislatures—not federal judges, not state judges, not state governors, not other state officials—bear primary responsibility for setting election rules,” Gorsuch wrote.

Gorsuch mentioned Wisconsin “has made considerable efforts to accommodate early voting and respond to COVID. The district court’s only possible complaint is that the state hasn’t done enough. But how much is enough? If Wisconsin’s statutory absentee voting deadline can be discarded on the strength of the state’s status as a COVID ‘hotspot,’ what about the identical deadlines in 30 other states? How much of a ‘hotspot’ must a state (or maybe some sliver of it) be before judges get to improvise?”

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

“On the scales of both constitutional justice and electoral accuracy, protecting the right to vote in a health crisis outweighs conforming to a deadline created in safer days,” Kagan wrote.

Kagan famous {that a} decide had ordered a six-day extension for Wisconsin’s presidential primaries in April. For the overall election, about half of Wisconsin’s voters have requested mail-in ballots. Based on the April experience, as many as 100,000 Wisconsin residents might not have their votes counted, Kagan mentioned.

The Supreme Court’s resolution “will disenfranchise large numbers of responsible voters in the midst of hazardous pandemic conditions,” Kagan wrote.

The case is Democratic National Committee v. Wisconsin State Legislature.

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