Republicans around the country are trying their hardest to stop people from voting and stop ballots from being counted. This is, of course, nothing new for the party of voter suppression, but this year's fuckery is basically on steroids, what with all of the fighting over absentee and mail-in ballots. So we thought we'd give you a little round-up of the various ways the GOP is trying to ratfuck our democracy — and the ways our federal courts is allowing it to happen.

I would say “enjoy," but it's pretty much all bad.

Michigan

Yesterday, a Michigan appellate court ruled that all absentee ballots in the state must arrive by 8 pm on Election Day in order to be counted, reversing a lower court's ruling that had extended the deadline. It also reinstated the state's ban on allowing third parties to turn in their ballot to election officials. Because why make it easier for people to vote during a deadly pandemic?

In September, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens had ruled that absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day must be counted if they arrive within two weeks of the election. Although Judge Stephens had found “unrefuted evidence" that the pandemic had slowed down USPS service (not to mention that fuckwad DeJoy), the appellate court decided those things “are not attributable to the state" and just decided to ignore the actual facts of what is happening in our country right now.

Although an untold number of voters will not have their ballot counted as a result of this ruling, the judges decided that that doesn't mean they lost their right to vote absentee.

Although those factors may complicate plaintiffs' voting process, they do not automatically amount to a loss of the right to vote absentee

Uh-huh reaction gif

The appeal, naturally, was brought by the Republican Michigan legislature, because there's nothing the GOP loves more than ratfucking elections.

As of now, it's unclear whether or not state Democrats will appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Texas

There's always something or another going on in Texas. This time, it's about masks.

Texas does have a statewide mask mandate ... kind of. But the July 2 rule exempted "any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election[.]" Because why NOT just kill people who are trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote?

Back in July, voting rights organizations filed the suit against Governor Greg Abbott, arguing that the state's election policies effectively forced voters to choose between protecting themselves from COVID-19 or voting.

The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, but this week, the Fifth Circuit reinstated the part of the case that focused on poll workers being exempted from the mask mandate. Now, the Texas federal district court will have to determine whether it's a violation of one of the few remaining parts of the Voting Rights Act to give “members [of a protected class] less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice."

And that's not all! The Fifth Circuit also jumped in this week to say that it was totally fine for the state to allow only one absentee ballot dropbox per county, despite the disproportional impact that would have on older voters, disabled voters, low-income voters, and voters of color.

Great.

Eye roll gif

Ohio

Remember that great voting rights win in Ohio that we told you about last week?

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is on a mission to ensure that it's as difficult as possible for voters living in the state's largest cities and counties to vote. He has limited ballot dropbox locations to one per county, regardless of the county's population, size, or geographic makeup. This has the result of suppressing the vote in places like Cleveland's Cuyahoga County, where millions of people will only have access to one dropbox in a high-traffic area.

Last week, a federal district court blocked LaRose's order, finding it unconstitutional because of its impact on voters in highly populated counties.

Unfortunately, now the Sixth Circuit has stepped in.

The Sixth Circuit, possibly the worst, most right-wing activist federal circuit court in the country, issued a stay of the district court's order, stopping it from being enforced until the appellate court has had a chance to decide the case.

By issuing a stay, the court has essentially already decided the case.

The Sixth Circuit is, of course, also known as the only federal circuit court to rule against marriage equality. Just yesterday, it reinstated some bullshit trap laws in Kentucky, in blatant violation of existing Supreme Court precedent, to pave the way for our new fascist Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. So yeah, they're just great.

Well done again, assholes.

Wisconsin

Ah, Wisconsin. Republicans in Wisconsin have never seen a voter suppression tactic they didn't love. And this year is no different.

Like always, it's Republicans versus Democrats, with Republicans trying to fix the election. This time, the state GOP is trying to get the state to throw out absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day. The district court court judge ruled that absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day should be counted, as long as they arrive within 6 days of the election. It also required the state to waive its rule that poll workers live in the county they're working in and offer electronic delivery of absentee ballots to voters who didn't receive them in time.

After a ruling from the conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court allowing state Republicans to appeal the order, the Seventh Circuit issued a stay stopping it from going into effect — and now, SCOTUS will get the final say.

This week, several groups of voters, Wisconsin Democrats, and the Democratic National Party asked the Supreme Court asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the district court's order, to allow more people to vote. Justice Kegstand, who oversees orders from the Seventh Circuit, indicated that there would be a ruling by Friday; however, as of Saturday morning, it's still crickets. Though this Supreme Court hates voting rights pretty much more than anything else, so I'm not holding my breath for them to step in on the side of democracy.

Updates from other states

  • In North Carolina, Republicans are trying to get the state to throw out some 10,000 absentee ballots. A state appellate court is set to hear arguments in that case next week.
  • In Arizona, the Ninth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Navajo Nation, seeking an extension for mail-in ballots due to slow USPS service on the reservation.
  • In Indiana, the Seventh Circuit ordered that mail-in ballots must be received by noon on November 3 to be counted, overturning a district court order that allowed ballots post-marked by Election Day to be received until November 13.

So that's a lot of bad news

Yeah, sorry about that.

Look, we already know that Donald Trump and the GOP are going to do whatever they can to ratfuck the vote this year. What we need to do is clear: get out the votes for Democrats in such huge numbers that the election is ratfuck-proof.

Please: be a voter!

Pusheen the cat saying to vote

[ AP / Jurist / Yr Wonkette / 6th Cir. Appellate Blog / SCOTUSblog ]

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.
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