Wisconsin Judge Thwarts Trump Again With Vote-By-Mail Extension


In courtrooms across the country, the fight to preserve the rights of Americans to vote safely in every election is very much being fought. On Monday, a number of new decisions striking down the Trump campaign’s attempts to suppress mail-in voting during a global pandemic were forthcoming, and the latest is from Wisconsin.

A court battle over the deadline for mail-in votes to be received by election officials in Wisconsin ended with U.S. District Judge William Conley determining that the deadline should be extended to six days after Election Day rather than by 8:00 p.m., as was the norm. Slowdowns in the postal system and an expected influx of an unprecedented number of mail-in votes during the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to strain the election system, and giving more time for ballots to arrive could mean thousands more votes counted.

‘A federal judge ruled Monday that absentee ballots in battleground Wisconsin can be counted up to six days after the Nov. 3 presidential election as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

‘The highly anticipated ruling, unless overturned, means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin might not be known for days after polls close. Under current law, the deadline for returning an absentee ballot to have it counted is 8 p.m. on Election Day.’

The extension could even decide the next election. As many ballots came in following the presidential primaries, a significant percentage were counted thanks to an extension that had also been granted by Judge Conley earlier in the year.

‘In Wisconsin’s April presidential primary, Conley also extended the deadline for returning absentee ballots for a week. In that election, nearly 7% of all ballots cast were returned the week after polls closed.

‘In 2016, the presidential race was decided in Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point — fewer than 23,000 votes.’

Donald Trump currently trails his opponent, Joe Biden, by six points nationally and by nearly seven points in Wisconsin. Since Trump only won Wisconsin with .07 percent of the vote in 2016, Wisconsin is a highly contested swing state. Judge Conley’s decision on Monday could have a significant impact on the 2020 elections.

‘Jonathan Manes, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center who argued in favor of the plaintiffs along with Protect Democracy, said:

‘This ruling is a victory for democracy. Every voter should be able to vote easily, safely, and accessibly, no matter where they live or who they are. Today’s decision brings us closer to that goal.’