Choose Cynthia Stephens dominated that absentee ballots postmarked earlier than Election Day will be counted in the event that they arrive two weeks after the polls shut. Beforehand, solely ballots acquired by eight p.m. on Election Day could possibly be counted — a coverage that led to 1000’s of ballots getting rejected within the state’s August major.
The ruling was a victory for Democratic teams that introduced the lawsuit, who’ve been arguing in Michigan and different battleground states that many late-arriving ballots ought to nonetheless be counted. However it may additionally inject uncertainty into the post-election course of as a result of ballots arriving lengthy after Election Day may nonetheless get counted and shift the result.
“It is a HUGE win for all Michigan voters who plan to vote by mail in November,” Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, who was concerned within the lawsuit, mentioned in an announcement.
The decide additionally dominated that third-party poll assortment — generally pejoratively known as “poll harvesting” — can happen within the days main as much as Election Day. This implies Michigan voters can provide their ballots to “any third occasion of his or her selecting,” who will then return the absentee poll. This course of does considerably enhance the danger of fraud, however there are prison penalties if third events tamper with or destroy ballots.
The Democrats fell quick of their effort to have the state pay for return postage for all mail ballots. In rejecting their request to make this occur, Stephens wrote, “the Court docket finds that they’re unlikely to succeed on their problem to the postage requirement.”