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Wisconsin Legislature appeals ruling on absentee ballots

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Wednesday appealed a federal court ruling that allows for absentee ballots to be counted up to six days after the Nov. 3 presidential election in the battleground state.

The appeal was expected after Monday’s highly anticipated court ruling in favor of Democrats and their allies. The judge even put his ruling on hold for seven days in anticipation of a quick appeal.

Wisconsin law requires absentee ballots to be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day. But Democrats argued that given challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, along with the anticipated large number of absentee ballots, the deadline ought to be extended. U.S. District Judge William Conley agreed to the extension in Monday’s ruling.

The Legislature’s attorneys said in a court filing Wednesday that they plan to ask the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put the ruling on hold pending appeal. The case is expected to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2016, the presidential race was decided in Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point — fewer than 23,000 votes. Wisconsin is viewed by many as a potential tipping point state this election for either President Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden.

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