Appeals court reinstates Nov. 3 due date for Wisconsin mail ballots

Appeals court reinstates Nov. 3 due date for Wisconsin mail ballots
© Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Thursday reinstated a Nov. 3 due date for mail ballots in Wisconsin in a ruling that a dissenting judge argued would disenfranchise thousands of voters.

The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit halted a district judge’s order that relaxed a number of restrictions in order to ease voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In dissent, Judge Ilana Rovner called the ruling a “travesty” that will cause "many thousands of Wisconsin citizens [to] lose their right to vote."


“Good luck and G-d bless, Wisconsin,” Rovner, a George H.W. Bush appointee, wrote. “You are going to need it.”

The other two judges on the panel were appointed by former President Reagan and President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE.

The panel’s ruling relied heavily on recent Supreme Court opinions that reflected deference to state election officials and urged caution against courts altering voting rules near an election.

If it stands, Thursday’s ruling may have a disproportionate impact on supporters of Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected BuzzFeed News finds Biden's private Venmo account Kid reporter who interviewed Obama dies at 23 MORE, who are more likely than Trump voters to cast mail ballots.

The opinion halts a federal judge’s order while the appeals process plays out.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Conley last month extended Wisconsin’s mail ballot due date to Nov. 9 for ballots postmarked by Election Day and relaxed deadlines to register for and receive mail ballots.