A US federal appeals court on Thursday said Minnesota’s plan to count absentee ballots received after Election Day was illegal, siding with Republicans in the battleground state.
In a 2-1 decision, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said the deadline extension was an unconstitutional maneuver by the state’s top election official, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat.
The 8th Circuit sent the case back to a lower court and instructed it to require Minnesota election officials to identify and segregate absentee ballots received after Nov. 3.
The litigation is in a preliminarily stage and those ballots would not be counted if a final judgment is entered in the Republicans’ favor.
The ruling came one day after the US Supreme Court left in place North Carolina and Pennsylvania’s extended deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots.
Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, said on Twitter that because of the “last minute” ruling, Minnesotans should vote in person or take a mail-in ballot directly to election officials.
The two judges in the majority, Circuit Judges Bobby Shepherd and L. Steven Grasz, were appointed by Republicans.
Shepherd is an appointee of former President George W. Bush, while Grasz was appointed by President Donald Trump.
Circuit Judge, Jane Kelly, who dissented, was appointed by former President Barack Obama.
Minnesota law requires that absentee ballots be received by Election Day.