GOP lawmakers get green light to appeal absentee ballot case

DETROIT (AP) — The Republican-controlled Legislature on Wednesday was granted the right to intervene and appeal a groundbreaking court decision that allows Michigan absentee ballots to be counted for 14 days after the election.

The ruling by Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens means the case is certain to land in a higher court in the final weeks of the campaign season while more than 2 million absentee ballots are expected to be cast.

Stephens, noting mail delivery woes, recently said absentee ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 2 can be counted if they arrive within two weeks after the Nov. 3 election. Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, both Democrats, have declined to appeal.

That leaves the GOP-led House and Senate to try to block the order and defend current law, which cuts off absentee ballots at 8 p.m. on Election Day. Separately, there are two lawsuits by Republicans in the Court of Claims and federal court.

President Donald Trump has been stirring doubts about mailed ballots, but experts have repeatedly said there are no signs of widespread fraud.