Michigan Joins Other Key Swing States With More Time To Send Ballots By Mail, Courts Rules

Top line

Voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania now have more time to mail their ballots in the November election, amid new court rulings extending the deadlines by which ballots must be received, ensuring more voters in crucial states of swing will have their votes counted, but also increasing the likelihood that a presidential election winner won’t be declared until after election day.

Main aspects

A Michigan judge ruled Friday that November mailing papers must be accepted as long as they are stamped by November 2, the day before the election, and arrive before results are certified 14 days after the election.

Similarly, a Pennsylvania judge ruled Thursday that ballots will be accepted if received by the Friday following election day, after the state asked the court to extend the deadline between mail delay reports and a warning. by the United States Postal Service which votes in 46 states may not be delivered on time.

Georgia has also issued a court ruling in recent weeks extending the deadline, and many other swinging states, including Ohio, North Carolina, and Nevada, also have postal voting deadlines that extend beyond election day.

Voting in the mail must still be received by Election Day in the swinging states of Florida, Arizona, Colorado and Wisconsin.

Mail order voting is expected to be much more popular than usual in November due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with an Associated Press / NORC poll on Friday found that 39% of registered voters intend to vote by mail this November, compared 21% who say they generally do.

The most common reason for rejecting ballot papers by post came after the deadline, according to election administration and polling poll data, and recent post delays, based on changes that have now been cleared by federal court, have sowed fears that more mail order papers will arrive at the end of November.

Big number

12.623.324. This is the number of mail-order ballots for November that have already been requested as of Friday in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and parts of Ohio, states that report information on ballot papers. , according to the US Election Project. Colorado is also one of nine states and Washington DC that will automatically send ballots to all voters, rather than requiring them to request ballots.

Chief critic

President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have launched a massive legal effort to reduce mail-order voting and eliminate policies that would make it more accessible. Trump has repeatedly falsely claimed that voting by mail will lead to widespread voter fraud, despite the evidence showing that such fraud is actually extremely rare.

Key background

The likely reliance on mail-order voting in November has raised concerns about what will happen after election night, as the increase in the volume of mail-order votes and the extended deadlines for voting in states likely to decide elections, all but ensure that a winner will not be announced on November 3rd. Current polls and data on mail-order requests show that Democrats are more likely to vote by mail than Republicans, which has led strategists to warn of a possible “red mirage” scenario, in which Trump is demonstrated. to be ahead on election night before many mail-order votes are counted, potentially causing chaos for the president by preemptively declaring victory.


The Michigan and Pennsylvania rulings this week also involved many other voting-related policies. The Pennsylvania court ruled in favor of mail boxes for return of ballot papers and removed Green Party candidates from the ballot, while the Michigan court overturned a ban on external groups from driving voters to urns. The rulings also included some wins for the GOP, including Pennsylvania banning ballot papers that don’t have “secret envelopes” inside the mailing envelope to further protect voter information, and Michigan supporting a policy that requires voters to use their own postage when returning cards.

Further reading

Michigan ballot papers postmarked by November 2 must be counted in the election, judge rules (Detroit Free Press)

Trio of Pennsylvania Supreme Court rulings likely to boost Biden v Trump in key state (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Pennsylvania wants votes to be postmarked on election day to count after USPS warns of delays (Forbes)

Hundreds of ballots in the mail arrive too late to be counted in Michigan, Tennessee as fears of postal service changes grow (Forbes)

Biden’s campaign launches legal action in anticipation of November election fighting (Forbes)


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