Late Monday night, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin cannot accept absentee votes that are mailed in and postmarked after the Tuesday primary and general judicial election date. The 5-4 decision was reached in an ideological manner, with the majority conservative bloc unanimous in their opposition to the state’s Democrat effort to extend the deadline by six days for absentee ballots.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a fierce dissenting opinion on behalf of the court’s liberal wing.
Democrats had claimed that the absentee ballot extension was needed to safeguard voters in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Extending the date by which ballots may be cast by voters — not just received by the municipal clerks but cast by voters — for an additional six days after the scheduled election day fundamentally alters the nature of the election,” the majority opinion reads. “The court would prefer not to do so, but when a lower court intervenes and alters the election rules so close to the election date, our precedents indicate that this court, as appropriate, should correct that error,” the majority opinion added.
The decision means that Wisconsin voters who wish to participate in the primary election and the judicial election must either get their absentee ballot in the mail today or they must cast their vote at their local polling station.
Ginsburg projected concern that the decision would deprive some citizens of their right to vote. “The district court, acting in view of the dramatically evolving COVID–19 pandemic, entered a preliminary injunction to safeguard the availability of absentee voting in Wisconsin’s spring election,” she wrote. “This court now intervenes at the eleventh hour to prevent voters who have timely requested absentee ballots from casting their votes.
“Under the district court’s order, they would be able to do so,” she continued. “Even if they receive their absentee ballot in the days immediately following election day, they could return it. With the majority’s stay in place, that will not be possible. Either they will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others’ safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, through no fault of their own.”
Ginsburg took issue with certain aspects of the majority’s ruling, saying:
The Court’s order requires absentee voters to postmark their ballots by election day, April 7—i.e., tomorrow—even if they did not receive their ballots by that date. That is a novel requirement. Recall that absentee ballots were originally due back to election officials on April 7, which the District Court extended to April 13. Neither of those deadlines carried a postmark-by requirement.
[T]he Court’s order, I fear, will result in massive disenfranchisement. A voter cannot deliver for postmarking a ballot she has not received. Yet tens of thousands of voters who timely requested ballots are unlikely to receive them by April 7, the Court’s postmark deadline. Rising concern about the COVID–19 pandemic has caused a late surge in absentee-ballot requests. The [majority’s] suggestion that the current situation is not “substantially different” from “an ordinary election” boggles the mind. Some 150,000 requests for absentee ballots have been processed since Thursday, state records indicate. The surge in absentee-ballot requests has overwhelmed election officials, who face a huge backlog in sending ballots.
Reaction from progressive leaders has of course been wildly critical of the decision. “I am about to explode,” tweeted Ben Wikler, chair of the Wisconsin Democrat Party.
I am about to explode. The five GOP US Supreme Court justices just overruled two lower courts and shut off extended absentee voting in Wisconsin. https://t.co/Gt7EeI1AU7
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) April 6, 2020
Curious minds want to know if Democrats require their leaders to test positive for unstable tendencies.
Unstable? … Well, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also weighed in, telling MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday evening: “You would think that the Supreme Court of the United States would not overturn a court decision which gave the voters extra time to do a vote by mail by a few more days to get their vote by mail ballot in. So you have the Supreme Court of the United States undermining our democracy. It’s really shameful. 5-4, surprise, surprise.”
Needless to say, absentee voting in general has become a hot button issue nationally because of increasing voter fraud, largely a tactic embraced by the left.
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