“Federal law is very clear –- Election Day is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a lawsuit announcement. We think it's unacceptable that certain states accept and count votes days after Election Day.
Gates McGavick, RNC spokeswoman, expects for a finding before the presidential election that state deadlines for votes after Election Day violate federal law. "This case could have major ramifications in future elections—not just in Mississippi but nationwide," he warned. The Democratic National Committee is actively monitoring the issues and will combat voter disenfranchisement.
Democrats will always stand on the side of voters against unlawful attacks on Americans’ fundamental right to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” DNC deputy press secretary Nina Raneses stated.
Democratic state Rep. Bryant Clark termed the Mississippi lawsuit “another effort to try to stifle votes and stop the votes of a certain segment of the population.” He suggested the suit may inspire nationwide initiatives. Mississippi State University political science professor Thessalia Merivaki said reducing the five-day window would “unfairly punish” voters because the postal voting procedure is already cumbersome.
The conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation filed a federal lawsuit against the state election director in North Dakota on behalf of county auditor Mark Splonskowski, citing a state-federal conflict. His legal right to sue will be decided soon by a court. Foundation spokesman Lauren Bowman said the action concerns North Dakota's statute, but a decision that prolonged ballot deadlines violate federal law would affect other states with similar procedures.
State Election Director Erika White requested dismissal. Her attorneys called the county auditor's action “a bid to overthrow longstanding North Dakota law and rewrite it according to his own preference.” U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division attorneys submitted a statement of interest in the lawsuit supporting the state statute as compatible with federal law and ensuring military and foreign ballots are tallied.
Due to litigation, North Dakota Republican Secretary of State Michael Howe refuses to comment. Republican state Sen. Kristin Roers said the lawsuit might punish military votes and slow-postal-service voters. “I don't see that this is a huge, glaring issue in our election system,” she added.
University of California, Los Angeles law professor and election law specialist Richard L. Hasen disputed the cases' legal foundation. He claimed the RNC appeared to be seeking to gain a political edge in Mississippi because it “believes late-arriving mail ballots are more likely to favor Democrats.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which encompasses Mississippi, has been conservative “and not protective of voting rights.” “A challenge to Mississippi law would be a far reach for a national injunction against this,” he added. “But it’s possible.
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