State Watch

Trump, GOP campaigns ask for late mail ballots to be separated in Minnesota

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The campaigns for President Trump and Minnesota GOP state legislature candidates on Wednesday filed a motion for the state’s Supreme Court to order the separation of all mail ballots received after Election Day, the latest in a challenge to the state’s extension of its absentee ballot counting deadline.

According to the court filing, the campaigns are asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to segregate ballots received after Nov. 3, arguing that “it could be impossible for a court to repair the election results tainted by illegally and untimely cast or mailed ballots if the ballots are not segregated.”

This comes as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit heard arguments Wednesday in a separate case against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon over the extension of Minnesota’s absentee ballot counting deadline by seven days. 

On Oct. 11, a state judge upheld the extension after state Rep. Eric Lucero (R) and Ramsey County GOP activist James Carson called on U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel, a Trump appointee, to rule that the extension was a violation of federal law, which establishes Nov. 3 as the 2020 election date, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

In Minnesota, ballots traditionally need to be in by 8 p.m. on Election Day. With the extension, ballots postmarked on or before Election Day may still be counted as long as they are received within the seven-day period.

However, in Wednesday’s filing, the Republican campaigns are asking that Simon separate all mail ballots into three separate groups: those received before the deadline of 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, ballots received after the Nov. 3 deadline but before Nov. 10 and mail-in ballots received after Nov. 10.

In Wednesday’s filing, attorneys R. Reid LeBeau II and Benjamin Pachito argue that the appeals court challenge may not be resolved by Election Day, thus providing a need to separate ballots received following the deadline should the extension be overruled.

The most recent polling average from RealClearPolitics has Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden ahead of Trump by 4.7 percentage points, and with less than a week away until Election Day, a KSTP/SurveyUSA poll released Wednesday showed Biden leading Trump in the Midwestern state 47 percent to 42 percent, although the poll reported a 4.6-point margin of error.

Both candidates are aiming to turn key battleground states like Minnesota in their favor in the final days of their campaigns, with Trump set to hold a rally in the state Friday.

In 2016, Trump lost Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes by just 1.5 percentage points against then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Tags 2020 election absentee ballots Biden campaign Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Minnesota RealClearPolitics voting by mail
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