Blog: Court says late Minnesota absentee ballots must be separated

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(WJW) – In five days the polls will close, and the 2020 election season will be behind us.

In addition to electing a president, voters will decide all 435 US House Seats and 35 US Senate races.

Early voting in Ohio runs through November 2.

The U.S. Elections Project estimates that 2,457,286 people in Ohio have voted early.

If you’re one of the millions who has already cast a ballot, you can track it here.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

9 p.m. headlines:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Minnesota’s absentee ballots that come in after Election Day should be separated from the rest of the ballots, in case a future order makes those votes invalid.

Thursday’s ruling doesn’t block Minnesota’s seven-day extension for counting absentee ballots — but it does order a lower court to issue a ruling that would keep the late arriving ballots separate.

Republicans had argued that the extension — which had been approved in both state and federal courts due to the COVID-19 pandemic — violated federal law that establishes Nov. 3 as the date of the 2020 election. Democrats said eliminating the extension would create voter confusion.

7 p.m. headlines:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court has refused to go along with a request from two counties to allow them to fill in a ballot misprint so that as many as 13,500 ballots can be processed more quickly without having to duplicate them on Election Day.

The four conservatives on the court on Thursday rejected the request from Outagamie and Calumet counties for an order telling them how to deal with the ballot misprint. The court’s three liberals dissented, saying the decision “leaves local election officials in the lurch.”

President Donald Trump carried both Outagamie and Calumet counties in 2016. He won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes.

6 p.m. headlines:

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has rejected an appeal from a Democratic state official who wants to ban the open carry of guns outside polling places. The court says said voter intimidation already is illegal. The order came two days after a Court of Claims judge said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had exceeded her authority in prohibiting the open carry of guns within 100 feet of a polling place. Judge Christopher Murray said the policy didn’t go through a formal rule-making process required under Michigan law. Attorney General Dana Nessel says she’ll ask the Supreme Court to take the case.

5 p.m. headlines:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s campaign rallies are among the nation’s biggest events held in defiance of coronavirus-related crowd restrictions. The president’s rallies regularly cram supporters together — with masks optional and social distancing frowned upon. Public health experts say Trump is setting the wrong example at a time when greater precautions are urgently needed. The U.S. posted a record high number of new infections last week — nearly 500,000. By contrast, Democrat Joe Biden has shunned rallies and instead holds online and drive-in events where people honk their horns to show support. He calls the Trump rallies “super-spreader events.”

3:45 p.m. headlines:

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, traveled to Akron on Thursday to speak with United Steelworkers Local 2. Emhoff has been campaigning on behalf of his wife and Joe Biden ahead of Election Day.

3 p.m. headlines:

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — First lady Melania Trump is making her first joint campaign appearance of the year with her husband.

Mrs. Trump warmed up the large crowd outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for President Donald Trump.

She used her few minutes in the spotlight to echo her husband’s push to downplay the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 228,000 Americans. She predicted that that the nation will soon “overcome this pandemic and continue building the brightest future for generations to come.”

1:15 p.m. headlines:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court has suspended a judge’s order requiring people in Texas to wear face masks inside polling stations.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed U.S. District Judge Jason Pulliam’s order late Wednesday. Pulliam ruled this week that not requiring face coverings inside Texas polling places created a discriminatory burden on Black and Latino voters, who face higher risks of death and severe illness from the coronavirus.

Texas elections administrators had expected Pulliam’s ruling to be put on hold and did not begin enforcing it. Texas has had a statewide mask mandate since July, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott carved out an exception for polling places.

11:45 a.m. headlines

  • (WJW) – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose reports 56,789 people in Ohio are trained as poll workers for November 3. LaRose says it exceeds the statewide goal, but some counties are still short on workers.
  • Check the poll worker tracker
  • (WJW) – Multiple polling locations in Georgia are closed after losing power due to effects from the remnants of Zeta. Some polling places do not expect to be able to open today for early voting.

10:30 a.m. headlines

  • (AP) – The head of the Wisconsin Republican Party says hackers stole $2.3 million from the party’s account that was being used to help reelect President Donald Trump in the key battleground state.

9 a.m. headlines

  • (AP) – The campaigns for President Donald Trump and Republican state legislative candidates in Minnesota are petitioning the Minnesota Supreme Court to separate all mailed ballots received after Election Day in case of legal challenges to their validity. 
  • (WJW) – 751,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims on top of 7.76 million who filed continued claims

7 a.m. headlines

  • (WJW) – Sen. Kamala Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff will hold two events in Ohio. He’ll travel to Columbus and Akron Thursday.
  • (WJW) – Vice President Mike Pence will hold events in Iowa and Nevada Thursday. Iowa went red in 2016. Trump is hoping to turn Nevada red this year.

5:30 a.m. headlines

(WJW) – Both presidential candidates will spend part of the day in Florida.

The state holds a crucial 29 electoral votes. 270 is the benchmark for winning the presidency.

Joe Biden and President Trump will hold rallies in Tampa.

First Lady Melania Trump will also be traveling with the president today.

President Trump also has a rally planned in North Carolina.

That state has 15 electoral votes.

Trump won both North Carolina and Florida in 2016.

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