A federal judge upheld Minnesota’s extension for counting mail-in ballots late Sunday after it was challenged by a pair of Republican electors in the state. A state court agreement had allowed ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 to be counted if received within seven days of the election.

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A federal judge upheld Minnesota’s extension for counting mail-in ballots late Sunday after it was challenged by a pair of Republican electors in the state. A state court agreement had allowed ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 to be counted if received within seven days of the election.

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

A federal judge in Minnesota upheld a seven-day deadline extension for counting mail-in ballots on Sunday, after it was challenged by a pair of Republicans.

Minnesota extended its deadline for receiving mail-in ballots after rights groups raised concerns that the state’s previous deadline could disenfranchise voters as the state receives an unprecedented amount of absentee ballots.

In past elections, absentee ballots would only be counted if received by 8 p.m. on election day. However, a state court agreement reached with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon allowed ballots postmarked by election day to be counted if received within seven days.

But, State Rep. Eric Lucero and James Carson – both certified Republican electors if Trump wins the state – challenged the extension arguing, among other things, that it violated federal law establishing Nov. 3 as the day of the 2020 election.

The two requested U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel block the agreement.

In her ruling late Sunday, Brasel rejected the plaintiffs claims for blocking the deadline extension. The judge also ruled that neither Lucero nor Carson had the standing to challenge the court agreement.

“[The plaintiffs] raise four theories of injury to support standing: vote dilution; uncertainty over how to vote; a risk to safe harbor compliance; and damage to their prospects for election as candidates for office. The Court considers each; none confers standing,” Brasel wrote in analysis.

The Associated Press reports that attorneys for the state had argued blocking the extension would sow confusion and potentially disenfranchise voters who’ve already been instructed their ballots can be counted if received after election day.

Minnesota began absentee voting on Sept. 18. Since then, like most of the country, the state has seen early and mail-in voting on pace to beat prior year records.

Minnesota Public Radio noted on Friday that more than 635,000 people had already cast ballots and 43.5% of the state’s registered voters had requested to vote absentee. In 2016, some 676,000 people voted early in the state.

Brasel’s ruling also comes days after a federal appeals court struck down a similar six-day extension for absentee ballots in Wisconsin.



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