Republican Lawsuits Target Mail-In Ballots in Key States

Experts say the suits could delay results and ultimately change outcomes
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2022 2:54 PM CST
Republicans Lean on Courts to Disqualify Mail-In Votes
A Michigan voter inserts her absentee voter ballot into a drop box in Troy, Mich. on Oct. 15, 2020.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Ahead of the midterms, courts at all levels across the country are already grappling with a slew of lawsuits targeting absentee ballots. According to the Washington Post, the latest suits stem from a "sustained campaign against alleged voter fraud" by Republican officials and candidates. Critics call it a "concerted attempt at partisan voter suppression," per the Post. Compared to lawsuits that followed the contested 2020 election—nearly all of which were dismissed, and the sum of which amount to what Democrats refer to as the "Big Lie"—this year’s crop of lawsuits may well impact election results, especially in certain battleground states, where courts have recently handed Republicans some victories.

In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court decided in favor of the RNC, ruling that election officials should not count ballots that lack a date on the outer envelope. State law requires such a date because, at one time, it allowed ballots to arrive after Election Day; but critics say the rule amounts to a "meaningless technicality" because the state now requires absentee ballots to arrive before the election. In Wisconsin, Republicans already won a ruling that rejects absentee ballots if the required witness’s address is not properly completed. Absentee ballots were also on the docket in Michigan, where Kristina Karamo, GOP nominee for secretary of state, sued Detroit’s city clerk to require voters to deliver absentee ballots in person; however, a judge rejected that request Monday, per the Detroit Free Press.

CNN reports that there have already been some 120 voting-related cases filed as of Nov. 3, and lawyers all around the country are expecting more as results from Tuesday’s midterms unfold. Per Reuters, many cases—including one in Georgia where the Biden administration is suing to overturn a law that criminalizes efforts to assist people waiting in voting lines—will continue well beyond this year and ultimately help shape the election in 2024. Meanwhile, cases surrounding mail-in ballots and other administrative matters could delay Tuesday’s results by weeks and ultimately alter outcomes in close races like the one for US Senate in Pennsylvania. (Read more 2022 midterms stories.)

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