Simon added that the state will not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, though there might be cause for litigation later. He noted that while there is currently no court order that invalidates ballots arriving after Nov. 3, his current focus is on making sure voters cast their ballots by the time the polls close on Election Day.
While legal issues were being sorted out, the state’s Democratic Party turned its operation toward alerting people of the issue. Simon, a Democrat, said an ad agency working with the state is redirecting its messaging to inform people about how to make their vote count. Additionally, the state is talking with Facebook to see if a blast can be sent out to notify Minnesotans of the change.
Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin said officials were reaching out to voters with unreturned absentee ballots, and Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, who is up for re-election Tuesday, is creating a television ad to send the same message. The city of Minneapolis expanded hours for ballot drop-off sites to make voting more accessible….
Simon said voters who still have absentee ballots in hand may drop them off at a designated location before 3 p.m. on Election Day, vote early at an early voting station, or vote in person on Nov. 3. Those who already returned absentee ballots can track them online to see if they’ve been received – and if a ballot is still outstanding, the voter can instead cast a vote in person. Their absentee ballot will be cancelled once the state receives it….
David Schultz, a political science and legal studies professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, said the 8th Circuit ruling sets up “a lot of voters” to claim that they were denied their right to vote.
“They acted in good faith and reliance on a consent decree that gave them sufficient opportunity to postmark their ballot by Election Day, get them in in seven days,” Schultz said. “There could be thousands of voters who lose their right to vote as a result of that. … I just don’t think the 8th Circuit thought this through.”…
Richard Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California Irvine School of Law, said Thursday’s ruling was unusual and could lead to serious voter disenfranchisement. He said voters who have absentee ballot instructions at home are relying on government information about when their ballots are due – and there’s no reliable way to make sure everyone is notified of the change.
“For conservative judges, who supposedly believe in judicial restraint and not overreaching, this is an audacious and unprecedented kind of decision so close to the election,” Hasen said. “It’s the opposite of the kind of restraint that we’ve heard many conservatives preach.”