GOP sues over ballot count

DETROIT (AP) — The Republican Party is suing to try to overturn a decision that lets Michigan count absentee ballots up to 14 days after the Nov. 3 election.

The state and national GOP said existing law, which cuts off absentee ballots when polls close on Election Day, should be honored.

A judge, citing chronic mail delays because of the coronavirus, last week said ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 can be counted if received within 14 days of the election.

State and national Republican groups were not parties in the case so they filed a lawsuit Thursday to try to undo Judge Cynthia Stephens’ decision. The latest lawsuit was also assigned to Stephens.

“During these trying times of disruption caused by COVID-19, states have an even greater interest in avoiding judicial interference with the laws and processes which have long been in place to protect the integrity of elections,” attorney Kurtis Wilder wrote.

The GOP also is challenging another part of Stephens’ order, which allows someone to return another voter’s absentee ballot in the final days before the election.

In a separate action, the Republican-controlled Legislature is asking Stephens to allow it to intervene and pursue an appeal on the absentee ballot issue. The Michigan Supreme Court told the judge to decide the request by Wednesday.

Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, both Democrats, said they would follow Stephens’ decision and not appeal.


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