The campaigns for President Donald Trump and GOP state legislative candidates are asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to segregate all mailed ballots received after Election Day.
In the latest action challenging Minnesota’s seven-day extension for absentee ballots, the campaigns petitioned the court on Wednesday to separate ballots arriving after Tuesday in case of legal challenges to their validity.
A federal appeals court is currently weighing a separate Republican challenge to the extended deadline, which was part of an earlier state court approved agreement with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.
The new petition comes one day after a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments in the federal challenge to the extended deadline. Simon had earlier reached an agreement with a citizens group allowing ballots to be counted as late as Nov. 10 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day on Tuesday.
In Wednesday’s filing to the state’s high court, attorneys R. Reid LeBeau II and Benjamin Pachito allege that Simon’s agreement is unconstitutional and violates state and federal elections laws. LeBeau and Pachito argue that the extension makes it likely that votes cast after Election Day could still be counted. That’s because the agreement calls for ballots without postmark dates to be counted unless “the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates it was mailed after Election Day.”
The attorneys raised concerns that the federal challenge before the Eighth Circuit might not be resolved by Election Day, making it “practically impossible” to identify ballots arriving after Tuesday unless they are kept separate.
The Republican campaigns are asking that mail-in ballots be separated into three groups: those received before the regular deadline of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, those received after the regular deadline but before 8 p.m. on Nov. 10, and those received after the extended deadline.