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Appeals court pauses 6-day extension for counting Wisconsin absentee ballots

A federal appeals court on Sunday moved to halt a nearly weeklong extension to Wisconsin's efforts to count absentee ballots, dealing a temporary blow to state Democrats.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals moved to issue a temporary stay on an order issued by U.S. District Judge William Conley directing state officials to continue counting absentee ballots for six days after Nov. 3.

Conley's order will now be reviewed further by the appeals court, an outcome Conley himself requested when he delayed the implementation of his order upon issuing it last Monday.

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Democrats in Wisconsin have pushed for state election officials to loosen the restrictions on which absentee ballots will be counted amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which has led to health officials urging Americans to avoid public gatherings, particularly indoors.

Their efforts have been opposed by Republicans in the state, who have echoed accusations from national GOP figures such as President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE who claim Democrats are using the pandemic to expand mail-in voting systems while using the virus as an excuse.

Wisconsin is seen as one of the top battleground states in the 2020 presidential election after Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE (D) lost the state to Trump in 2016.

The state moved in May to send 2.7 million absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters in the state, a move agreed to by a bipartisan elections commission.