Source: Washington Post
The Supreme Court on Monday night rejected a pandemic-related request from Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the deadline for counting mail-in ballots received after Election Day in the battleground state of Wisconsin. The vote was 5 to 3, with the courts liberals in dissent. Conservative justices said federal courts were interfering too much in election procedure choices that should be left to local officials.
Its indisputable that Wisconsin has made considerable efforts to accommodate early voting and respond to COVID, wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. The district courts only possible complaint is that the state hasnt done enough. But how much is enough? 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.
Justice Elena Kagan answered for the liberals, and included a reference to an opinion from the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when the court considered similar changes during the Wisconsin primary. Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites, through no fault of their own, may receive their mail ballots too late to return them by Election Day, wrote Kagan, joined by Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Without the district courts order, they must opt between brav[ing] the polls, with all the risk that entails, and los[ing] their right to vote. The voters of Wisconsin deserve a better choice.
A district judge had originally ruled with the plaintiffs, and extended the deadline for six days. He accepted the argument that the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying surge in mail voting demand changes to accommodate voters and ensure ballots are counted. But the Republican National Committee, the Wisconsin Republican Party and the states majority-GOP legislature intervened to defend the existing deadline, and earlier this month a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit reinstated the requirement that mail ballots be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
To be clear – this is for Wisconsin. There was a case pending for PA as well.