Politics Trump, GOP campaigns ask for late mail ballots to be separated in Minnesota
How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results
More Americans are voting by mail this election than usual, due to the pandemic. But processing those ballots takes more time. Here's how it works in battleground states. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds.
The campaigns for President Trump and Minnesota GOP state legislature candidates on Wednesday filed a motion for the state's supreme court to order the separation of all mail ballots received after Election Day, the latest in a challenge to the state's extension of its absentee ballot counting deadline.
According to , the campaigns are asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to segregate ballots received after Nov. 3, arguing that "it could be impossible for a court to repair the election results tainted by illegally and untimely cast or mailed ballots if the ballots are not segregated."
USPS Service blows deadline to check for missing ballots. About 300,000 can't be traced
The window is closing fast. The deadline for mail-in ballots either ends as the polls close tonight or has already passed in 29 states. Reports of undelivered ballots cropped up over the weekend, including in Miami-Dade County Florida. A sweep of the Princetown Post Office in Miami found 62 ballots. Timely delivery of the ballots has been a concern in the past, and voting rights activists worry the loss of ballots, especially in battleground states, could alter the results of the 2020 presidential election.
This comes as the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday in a separate case against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon over the extension of Minnesota's absentee ballot counting deadline by seven days.
On Oct. 11, after State Rep. Eric Lucero (R) and Ramsey County GOP activist James Carson called on U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel, a Trump appointee, to rule that the extension was a violation of federal law, which establishes Nov. 3 as the 2020 election date, according to the .
In Minnesota, ballots traditionally need to be in by 8 p.m. on Election Day. With the extension, ballots postmarked on or before Election Day may still be counted as long as they are received within the seven-day period.
Survey: Nearly 2 out of 3 voters will cast their ballots early in-person or by mail, not on Election Day
The survey showed a significant partisan divide, too. Those supporting Biden are more likely to say they plan to vote by mail than those who support Trump.When combining those who are voting by mail (42%) and those who voting early in-person (26%), nearly 2 in 3 voters will be casting their ballot ahead of Election Day, according to a survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project.
However, in Wednesday's filing, the Republican campaigns are asking that Simon separate all mail ballots into three separate groups: those received before the deadline of 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, ballots received after the Nov. 3 deadline but before Nov. 10 and mail-in ballots received after Nov. 10.
In Wednesday's filing, attorneys R. Reid LeBeau II and Benjamin Pachito argue that the appeals court challenge may not be resolved by Election Day, thus providing a need to separate ballots received following the deadline should the extension be overruled.
The most recent polling average from has Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden ahead of Trump by 4.7 percentage points, and with less than a week away until Election Day, a released Wednesday showed Biden leading Trump in the Midwestern state 47 percent to 42 percent, although the poll reported a 4.6 percent margin of error.
Both candidates are aiming to turn key battleground states like Minnesota in their favor in the final days of their campaigns, with Trump set to hold a rally in the state Friday.
In 2016, by just 1.5 percentage points against then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Polling averages show Trump gaining on Biden in most swing states. Will it be enough? .
Trump gained on Biden in polling average in 9 of 12 swing states since Monday, continuing last week's trend. But of those, he is only ahead in Texas.The deadline for early voting ends Friday in several states where the race is tight, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Texas – and on Saturday in the key states of Florida and North Carolina. Though early turnout appears to favor Democrats in many states, Republicans are gaining ground quickly in Florida and other early voting states.