Absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 must be counted in Michigan, judge rules


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A Michigan judge ruled Friday that clerks must accept absentee ballots that are postmarked by the day before the Election Day, as long as they arrive before the election is certified.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens’ decision comes a month after the U.S. Postal Service warned that voters could be disenfranchised because of delays in the mail.

Previously, state law required clerks to scrap ballots that did not arrive in the mail by Election Day. More than 6,400 were rejected in this year’s primary contest on Aug. 4 because they arrived after Election Day.

"Many voters were in fact deprived of having their absent voter ballot tallied in the August primary," Stephens wrote.

The ruling, which only applies to the general election on Nov. 3., could be struck down by a higher court. An appeal is expected.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, which was contesting restrictions on voter registration and absentee ballots.

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