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GOP leaders say they will appeal ballot decision

absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

The Legislature’s Republican leaders are challenging a court decision that says mailed-in votes that are postmarked by November 2 must be counted. That’s even if they arrive after Election Day.

That decision came last month from a Michigan Court of Claims judge. She said ballots that arrive within two weeks of Election Day must be included in the total. That’s due in part to the surge in absentee voting this year due to COVID-19.

State Representative Ann Bollin (R-Brighton) is a former township clerk. She says the judge changed the rules late in the game.

“What this does is it creates confusion for our voters, and it creates a lot of unnecessary angst in a local clerk’s office," she says. "We have very sound election law in the state of Michigan, and we need to let the clerks do their job and administer the election.”

Amber McCann is the spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. She says GOP leaders want the question settled quickly so local clerks know what they have to do.          

There’s already quite a bit of responsibility heaped upon them in terms of what’s happening with COVID and the increase in absentee ballots, and so certainty going into the election is critical,” says McCann. 

McCann says the decision changes the law about absentee voting whether or not COVID-19 is in the picture.

The GOP leaders filed a notice Thursday with the Michigan Court of Appeals that their appeal is coming. The case will likely wind up with the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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