On Friday, Minnesota officials decided not to seek emergency intervention from the Supreme Court over a demand ruling that questioned the legality of their decision to count mail-in ballots received after Election Day.
Thursday’s ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Republicans in the battleground state indicated that ballots received after Election Day, which is on November 3, would not be counted if the extended deadline was ultimately found to be unlawful.
The ruling, which is not the final word in the litigation, requires that ballots received after Election Day be separated from other ballots.
“While Minnesota will comply with the 8th Circuit’s ruling to segregate the ballots received after November 3, we need to emphasize that there is no court ruling yet saying those ballots are invalid,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat.
“We reserve the right to make every argument after Election Day that protects voters,” he added.
Simon, who said he conferred with the state attorney general’s office, urged voters not to send ballots in the mail at this point but instead deliver them to county election offices or vote in person.
Minnesota law requires that mail-in ballots be received by Election Day. But that deadline was extended through a settlement Simon reached with a citizens group that sued earlier this year.
Under that settlement, which a judge approved, state election officials could count ballots received until November 10 as long as they are postmarked by November 3.
Two Minnesota Republicans, James Carson, and Eric Lucero, challenged the settlement.