Appeals Court Orders Minnesota to Separate Mail-In Ballots Arriving After Election Day

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A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that mail-in ballots from Minnesota that arrive after Nov. 3 must be separated from those that are received on or before Election Day.

The ruling, from a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, authorized a Republican challenge against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon’s order extending the ballot deadline by seven days.

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Ballots received after Election Day should be separated, the court’s ruling said, in order “to be removed from vote totals in the event a final order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining such votes to be invalid or unlawfully counted.”

The ruling suggested that ballots received after 8 p.m. Nov. 3 could be officially invalidated in a later ruling, though it is unclear as to whether they will be, Politico reported.

The ruling was praised by President Donald Trump and Minnesota Republicans, who earlier filed a motion pushing for the final verdict. The Minnesota GOP argued that “it could be impossible for a court to repair the election results tainted by illegally and untimely cast or mailed ballots if the ballots are not segregated.”

The ruling is a reversal from an Oct. 11 decision that upheld Minnesota’s extended ballot deadline. That decision led state Rep. Eric Lucero and GOP activist James Carson to push for an appeal, arguing that the extension was a violation of federal law, which outlines a Nov. 3 deadline, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were set to hold campaign events in Minnesota on Friday.

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