Elections

On Friday night the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Texas’s lawsuit challenging the results of the presidential election in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  

Texas filed its lawsuit directly in the Supreme Court rather than in a lower court first relying on a constitutional provision giving the Supreme Court “...

Yesterday, in a one-sentence statement containing no recorded dissents, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to strike down Pennsylvania’s no-excuse absentee ballot scheme. December 8, 2020, was the “safe harbor” deadline for the votes of Pennsylvania’s presidential and vice-presidential electors to be included in the counting of electoral votes.

Challengers...

In a 5-3 decision the U.S. Supreme Court disallowed a lower court decision to go into effect which would have allowed absentee ballots to be counted if they were received as late as November 9, as long as they were postmarked on or before election day. As a result, Wisconsin absentee ballots must be...

The Supreme Court has frozen a district court order that lifted Alabama’s ban on curbside voting. As a result, curbside voting must discontinue in Alabama.

Alabama law is silent on curbside voting. A number of Alabama counties were offering it due to COVID-19. Alabama’s Secretary of State, John Merrill, has taken the position that curbside voting violates state law and has banned it. A federal district court...

In a 4-4 decision the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that requires ballots received up to three days after the election to be counted to stand. Ballots clearly postmarked after 8 PM on election night will not be counted if they arrive after 5 PM on November 6.

Only if a ballot is clearly postmarked after 8 PM on election night will it not be counted if it arrives by 5 PM on November...

Justice Kagan denied an emergency petition asking the Supreme Court to freeze a district court decision allowing counties to send mail ballots to all registered voters. Forty-five of Montana’s 56 counties have opted to conduct the general election by mail ballot. Following this ruling these counties will be able to do so; in person voting also will be available in all Montana counties.

Montana law states that “a...

In the Supreme Court’s first non-COVID-19 related emergency case regarding a state election requirement relevant to the 2020 presidential election, Justice Breyer refused to overturn a state court decision which allows Maine to use ranked-choice voting.

Maine statute describes ranked-choice voting as a “method of casting and tabulating votes in which voters rank candidates in order of preference, tabulation proceeds in...

In Andino v. Middleton the Supreme Court has continued its trend of striking down judge-made changes to state election laws in response to COVID-19. The Supreme Court froze in place a district court order which prohibited South Carolina from enforcing its ballot witness requirement. But the Court stated that any ballots received within...

In Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee the Supreme Court will decide whether Arizona’s refusal to count out-of-precinct votes violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and whether Arizona’s limits on third-party ballot collection violate Section 2 of the VRA and the Fifteenth Amendment.

Arizona wholly discards out-of-precinct votes instead of counting the votes for the races the voter was eligible to participate in (...

CSG Midwest
In a national scorecard analyzing how state policies will either enable or inhibit the ability of individuals to vote by mail, the Brookings Institution gives most states in the Midwest a passing grade, in large part because of their rules on witness signatures, the timeline for accepting ballots, and the delivery of vote-by-mail applications. The highest grades went to U.S. states (nearly all in the West) that are automatically sending ballots to registered voters. No state in the Midwest is taking this approach.

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