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'No Pandemic Exception To The Constitution': Court Rejects Minn. Ballot Extension

Mail-in ballots waiting to be processed by election workers in Salt Lake City, Utah.
George Frey
/
AFP via Getty Images
Mail-in ballots waiting to be processed by election workers in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with Minnesota Republicans in a dispute on mail-in ballots, deeming that absentee votes received by mail after 8 p.m. and in person after 3 p.m. should be separated from other ballots.

The move means that the fate of those later-received ballots will likely fall in the lap of another court, which could eventually declare the votes invalid.

This ruling reverses an extension by Secretary of State Steve Simon to accommodate voters who may have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling came down to a vote of 2-1 on the three-person panel.

"The rule of law, as established by the United States Constitution and the Minnesota Legislature, dictates these rules must be followed notwithstanding the Secretary's instructions to the contrary," the assenting judges wrote in explaining their decision.

"There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.
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