Aug 11, 2020
Republicans ask Supreme Court to intervene in Rhode Island case involving whether absentee ballots need witness signatures
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(CNN)The Republican National Committee has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a case about absentee ballots in Rhode Island, where a recent legal battle in federal court eliminated the state's requirement that two witnesses, or a notary public, must sign absentee ballots for them to count.In a ruling last week, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reinstate the witness requirement. The requirement was nixed as part of an agreement between the Democratic-run state government and a group of voters who brought a lawsuit, asking for the rule to be waived during the pandemic. Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, a Democrat, praised the ruling last week, saying it was "a victory for voting rights." Election experts say that witness requirements would disenfranchise voters during the Covid-19 pandemic, where people are reluctant to even invite family into their homes.
News Source: CNN
GOP asks full appeals court to hear Wisconsin absentee case
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans want the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear their appeal of a ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that allowed absentee ballots to be counted for six days after Election Day.
The Republican-controlled Legislature asked for the hearing late Wednesday and for the court’s decision to be put on hold in the meantime. The court panel earlier on Wednesday rejected a separate request by Republicans to put the ruling on hold.
In Wisconsin, absentee ballots are typically due by the close of polls at 8 p.m. on Election Day. But Democrats and their allies, citing issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, sued to seek an extension.
A federal judge last month said ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, and received by Nov. 9, will count. The appeals court upheld that ruling on Tuesday, saying the Republican National Committee, Wisconsin Republican Party and state Legislature did not have the legal standing to sue.
The next step for the case, either after the full appeals court rules on it or rejects the GOP request, is to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
The Legislature said in its filing that it intends to appeal to the Supreme Court if the ruling is not put on hold by next Tuesday.
Republicans around the country have fought attempts to expand voting, particularly in battleground states such as Wisconsin. Democrats contend that the move is meant to suppress the votes of people who are more likely to vote Democratic.
President Donald Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016 and polls show a tight race again this year against Democrat Joe Biden.
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