Court stops 10-day extension of Indiana absentee ballots

Absentee ballots cast in Indiana must arrive by noon on Election Day to be counted, a federal appeals court said Tuesday, spiking a 10-day extension ordered by a judge.

A judge had cited slow mail delivery because of the coronavirus as a reason for extending the count if ballots were postmarked by Nov. 3. But the appeals court, in a 3-0 opinion, overturned the decision and said Indiana’s noon rule still stands.

The “pandemic has caused great loss but is not a good reason for the federal judiciary to assume tasks that belong to politically responsible officials,” said Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It is rational to require absentee votes to be received by Election Day, just as in-person voting ends on Election Day. … Counting the votes, and announcing the results, as soon as possible after the polls close serves a civic interest,” Easterbrook wrote.

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