By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans want the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear their appeal of a ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that allowed absentee ballots to be counted for six days after Election Day.
The Republican-controlled Legislature asked for the hearing late Wednesday and for the court’s decision to be put on hold in the meantime. The court panel earlier on Wednesday rejected a separate request by Republicans to put the ruling on hold.
In Wisconsin, absentee ballots are typically due by the close of polls at 8 p.m. on Election Day. But Democrats and their allies, citing issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, sued to seek an extension.
A federal judge last month said ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, and received by Nov. 9, will count. The appeals court upheld that ruling on Tuesday, saying the Republican National Committee, Wisconsin Republican Party and state Legislature did not have the legal standing to sue.
The next step for the case, either after the full appeals court rules on it or rejects the GOP request, is to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
The Legislature said in its filing that it intends to appeal to the Supreme Court if the ruling is not put on hold by next Tuesday.
Republicans around the country have fought attempts to expand voting, particularly in battleground states such as Wisconsin. Democrats contend that the move is meant to suppress the votes of people who are more likely to vote Democratic.
President Donald Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016 and polls show a tight race again this year against Democrat Joe Biden.