By Jan Wolfe
– A federal appeals court said Thursday that Minnesota’s plan to count postal ballot papers received after election day was illegal and sided with Republicans in the battlefield state.
In a 2: 1 ruling, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said the extension was an unconstitutional maneuver by the state’s top electoral officer, Minnesota Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon.
The appeals court said Minnesota electoral officials should identify and set aside any postal ballot papers received after November 3rd.
“Simply put, the secretary has no power to override Minnesota legislation,” wrote the majority in the court.
A spokeswoman for Simon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Minnesota law requires postal ballot papers to be received by election day. However, that deadline was extended by an agreement Simon reached with a citizen group that filed a lawsuit earlier this year.
As part of this settlement, which was approved by a judge, electoral officials were able to count the ballots received by November 10, as long as they were postmarked by November 3.
The deal says that if a postmarked ballot slip misses a postmark, election officials should assume it was mailed by November 3, unless otherwise evidence is available.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, said on Twitter that the state’s voters should vote in person or put postal ballots straight into a ballot box because of the “last minute” change.
“In the middle of a pandemic, the Republican Party is doing everything possible to make it difficult for you to vote. Stand up for YOUR rights,” said Klobuchar.