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Ending Mississippi’s post-Election Day ballot reception window sought

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(The Center Square) – Ending Mississippi’s lawful reception of absentee ballots five days beyond Election Day is requested in a lawsuit filed in federal court this week.

The Libertarian Party of Mississippi, with the assistance of Judicial Watch, seeks an injunction to stay the law, plus attorney fees. Plaintiffs say the party faces a major burden due to the law because it lacks the resources of the two major parties to monitor post-election canvassing in 82 counties.

The matter is in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi. There are several bills in the Mississippi Legislature dealing with absentee ballots, but none would end the five-day deadline for ballot submission.

State law requires county election commissioners to canvass respective election results, sending certification to the secretary of state’s office. Plaintiffs say these results include invalid absentee ballots received after Election Day.

In a release, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “The law requires an ‘Election Day,’ not an ‘Election Week.’ Mississippi’s five-day extension of Election Day beyond the date set by Congress is illegal, violates the civil rights of voters, and encourages fraud.”

Lawyers estimate that as many as 1.7% of the more than 1.3 million ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election may have been received by county election officials after Election Day.

In the 2022 election, plaintiffs say there were 29,919 absentee ballot requests, 29,044 sent to voters, and 22,221 received in county election offices by Oct. 30, 2022. The lawsuit says that some of the 6,823 difference in the ballots transmitted and received were likely invalid under federal law.

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