RNC and Wisconsin Republicans file emergency petition in voting dispute

The emergency filing marks the first coronavirus-related petition that the justices will review since the pandemic gripped the country. Although the Supreme Court’s doors are closed to the public, the justices are still working remotely.

In the emergency petition, filed Saturday afternoon, lawyers for the RNC and Wisconsin Republicans argue that “requiring a state to permit unlimited absentee voting for almost a week after election day presents significant dangers to election integrity, voter confidence and the orderly administration of an election that already has strained state resources due to the difficult circumstances associated with COVID-19.”

The lawyers, noting that the election is “already in full swing” asked the Court to block the absentee extension for now as the appeals process plays out and clarify that absentee ballots must be postmarked (or personally delivered to the polls) no later than April 7 in order to be counted. They asked the court to act “no later than Monday, April 6.”

After the petition was filed, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has jurisdiction over the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, asked for a response by 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The filing comes after a ruling Friday night from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court denied a request from Wisconsin Republicans to reinstate the original election night deadline. The appeals court did, however, block a district court opinion that said the state must also count ballots from those who submit a “written affirmation or other statement” that they weren’t able to get a witness to sign their ballots.

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