A federal appeals court on Wednesday rebuffed Wisconsin Republicans who had asked the court to temporarily halt a ruling that pushed back the battleground state’s mail-vote due date, possibly teeing up a GOP bid for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The latest development in the fast-moving case comes a day after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld an extension of Wisconsin’s mail ballot receipt deadline. Under current rules, mail ballots must be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and arrive by Nov. 9.
The 7th Circuit’s decision turned on the narrow issue of whether the state’s GOP lawmakers and Republican Party members had the legal right to challenge the deadline extension, which the court said they lacked.
The Republican challengers said in a court filing that the case was likely to be addressed to the Supreme Court.
The appeals court rulings this week marked a victory for Democrats, who brought the lawsuit after the state’s controversial April presidential primary saw long lines, fewer polling places, a shortage of workers and thousands of ballots mailed days after the election.
The court battle also comes amid concerns over the Postal Service’s ability to mail ballots in time for individual state deadlines.
The Tuesday ruling was issued unanimously by a three-judge panel comprising Judges Frank Easterbrook, Ilana Rovner and Amy St. Eve. Easterbrook, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents.
The court said the Republican Party members and state legislators suffered no legal injury from the deadline extension.