Federal judge rules Wisconsin can count absentee ballots six days after election

The ballots would need to be postmarked by Election Day in order to count

Updated: September 22, 2020 - 12:57pm

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A federal judge ruled Monday that Wisconsin officials may count absentee votes in the crucial swing state for as many as six days after the Nov. 3 election, provided ballots are postmarked by the date of the election.

U.S. District Judge William Conley, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said his order was necessary to protect the voting rights of citizens impacted by the pandemic.

“While the Legislature would opt to disregard the voting rights of these so-called procrastinators, Wisconsin’s election system sets them up for failure in light of the near certain impacts of this ongoing pandemic,” Conley wrote in a decision some expect to be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the decision remains in place it could pave the way for a multi-day post-election wait to find out which presidential contender won the state if the contest is close. 

According to the Associated Press the state results in 2016 hinged on less than 23,000 votes.

The RealClearPolitics Wisconsin poll average currently has Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a 6.7 percent lead over Republican incumbent President Donald Trump.

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