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Republicans want to appeal major Michigan ballot decision

Ed White
Associated Press

Detroit – The Republican-controlled Legislature is seeking to intervene in a major court decision that will allow Michigan absentee ballots to be counted days after the election.

The House and Senate want to join the case and appeal the decision.

Absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 are eligible to be counted if they arrive within 14 days after the Nov. 3 election, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens said Friday, noting chronic delays with mail during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, left, answers questions from media during a press conference with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in this Aug. 28, 2020, file photo.

Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, both Democrats, said they won’t appeal and instead will urge the public to mail or drop off ballots as soon as possible.

Nessel and Benson “are not protecting the state’s interest in the constitutionality of a Michigan statute. They have abdicated their duty to defend this lawsuit in its entirety, which now falls to the Legislature,” attorney Michael Steinberger said in a court filing Monday.

The judge told state officials to respond by next Monday.

State law normally requires absentee ballots to be received by the time polls close on Election Day, not days later.