GOP loses suit to restrict mail-in voting in Biden’s home state

Erik Larson and Jef Feeley

Delaware Republicans lost their effort to block Joe Biden’s home state from continuing to mail absentee ballot applications to all voters after a judge said the plan was reasonable during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling late on Monday by state court judge, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock, is the latest setback for GOP officials who’ve been challenging vote-by-mail rules across the U.S.

“The legislature, in the face of an epidemic of airborne disease and in light of the health emergency declared by the Governor, has made a determination that vote-by-mail is necessary for the continued operation of governmental functions,” Glassock said. “These finding are not clearly erroneous.”

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden waves to supporters as he arrives to give a speech on the Supreme Court at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020.

The Republican State Committee of Delaware had sought an injunction blocking Delaware election officials from mailing more applications or counting any ballots received as a result of the automatic mailing.

While Democrats have been suing to expand access to mail-in voting, Republicans have largely echoed President Donald Trump’s repeated claims – made without evidence – that a surge in use of absentee ballots will result in a massive fraud and a “rigged” election.

Delaware is hardly a swing state. Democratic presidential candidate Biden lives there and served as one of its U.S. senators for decades before becoming Barack Obama’s vice president.

Jan Brady, head of the Delaware Republican Party and a former Delaware superior court judge, said she doesn’t expect an appeal of the ruling. “Judge Glasscock ruled the way we expected him to rule in deferring to the General Assembly’s discretion to set up an alternative way to vote and I don’t see grounds to appeal from that,” she said in an interview Tuesday.