A lawsuit filed by Minnesota Republicans, including local Rep. Eric Lucero – who represents STMA and Otsego in the Minnesota House – has altered the process some early voters this year, overturning a decision by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.
Lucero’s suit forces the state to count ballots on Election Day – something Simon circumvented due to what he said would be historic levels of mail-in and absentee votes submitted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simon has been proven right – the state has already seen historic levels of early voting. However, Lucero’s legal team argued, Simon’s methodology was flawed. Early voters had ample time to mail votes in and have the state receive them by Tuesday, Nov. 3. And, he said, the state office circumvented the Legislature by ruling to allow votes to be accepted after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.
“It undermines the process,” Lucero said.
So what now?
Here’s feedback from the Wright County Auditor’s Office:
Late Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overruled the State of Minnesota’s approved consent decree extending the deadline for submitting an absentee and mail ballots. The Court of Appeals ruling means absentee and mail ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted. Deadline to drop it off in person is 3 p.m.; deadline for mail or delivery service is 8 p.m. Election Officials are required to segregate and hold ballots that are returned after the above deadlines until additional instructions are provided by the Secretary of State’s office. Further Court rulings may require ballots received late be rejected.
Next Steps for Voters
Voters should no longer place their absentee ballot in the mail. Instead, voters have several options to ensure their vote is counted in the November general election:
* Voters who have already put their ballot in the mail can track their ballot at http://www.mnvotes.org/track. If their ballot has not yet been received the voter can vote in-person either by absentee, or at their polling place on Election Day.
* Voters can deliver their ballots to Wright County Government Center by hand (or have someone they trust hand-deliver it for them).
* Voters can cast their vote in person with an absentee ballot at the Wright County Government Center up until 5 p.m. Monday, November 2, 2020
* Voters can cast their votes in person on Election Day, November 3. Use our Pollfinder Tool to find out where to vote.
* The Wright County Government Center has a drop box in which ballots can be dropped 24/7 up to 5 p.m. on Election Day