Michigan appeals court overturns expanded mail-in ballot count

Oct. 17 (UPI) — A Michigan appeals court has overturned a lower court’s ruling requiring elections officials to accept mail-in ballots for two weeks after the 2020 election.

The state Court of Appeals said Friday that absentee ballots must be in the hands of local clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day — Nov. 3 — or else they won’t be counted.

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The ruling came in response to one by Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens, who said ballots received up to two weeks after Election Day must be counted as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3.

Her decision was the result of a lawsuit filed by the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans.

Republicans in Michigan’s legislature appealed the ruling.

The ruling also included a ban on certain third parties collecting and turning in mail-in ballots from voters in the three days before Election Day.

Traditionally only close family members or a local elections clerk could help deliver an absentee ballot, but Stephens had expanded the rule to let anyone of the voter’s choice submit the ballot.

In response to Friday’s ruling, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office advised voters to mail their absentee ballots by Monday at the latest to make sure it’s counted. Those who miss that deadline can submit their ballots at a local clerk’s office or at a ballot drop-off box.

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