Appeals court will take Michigan absentee ballot dispute next week

Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 18:42:42-04

A controversy over absentee ballots is on a fast track, the Michigan Court of Appeals said Friday.

The court said a randomly drawn three-judge panel will meet Oct. 9 but will rely on legal briefs and not hear arguments. The Republican-controlled Legislature is appealing an order that requires the counting of absentee ballots long after Election Day.

Ballots can be counted if postmarked by Nov. 2 and delivered within 14 days after the Nov. 3 election, a Court of Claims judge said, pointing to mail delays during the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision is being challenged by the House and Senate. State law normally cuts off absentee ballots at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The Legislature intervened in the case after Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, both Democrats, said they would abide by Judge Cynthia Stephens' decision and not fight it.

A lawsuit seeking more time to count ballots was filed by a group called Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans.