Decision 2020

Supreme Court Sides Mostly With Republicans in Last-Minute Voting Cases

More rulings on election procedures with mail-in ballots in key battleground states are expected before Nov. 3

In this Aug. 14, 2018, file photo, a sign reading "Vote Here" points toward a polling place for the 2018 Minnesota primary election at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court has faced a stream of last-minute appeals over election procedures since the spring, and most of the time it has rejected calls to allow less restrictive voting measures despite the pandemic, NBC News reports.

That has generally meant that Republicans prevailed in seeking to block changes that would make it easier to vote, especially in casting mail-in ballots. Of 11 election-related cases filed as emergency appeals since April, Republican interests won in eight.

The court rejected Democratic efforts to lift an age eligibility requirement for mail ballots in Texas, or allow curbside voting and waive the witness requirement for mail ballots in Alabama, or suspend the witness requirement in South Carolina. And it put a hold on lower court orders that would have made it easier to get initiative measures on the ballot in Idaho and Oregon.

"I think a deference to the states is at work here," said Edward Foley, an expert on election law at Moritz College of law at The Ohio State University.

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