Democrats Blocked From Intervening In Important Case

( )- Republicans in Illinois scored a court victory this week when a federal judge denied an attempt by Democrats to intervene in a case regarding mail-in ballots. Because of this ruling, the case can now proceed.

At the heart of the case is a lawn in Illinois tat allows election officials to count mail-in ballots for as much as two weeks after Election Day. Early voting has been taking place for a few weeks in the state now, and voters throughout Illinois were sent mail-in ballots.

According to data from the state elections board, a total of 841,270 mail-in ballots were sent to voters, but elections authorities had only received 400,385 back as of Monday. That means there are 440,885 mail-in ballots that haven’t been mailed back in yet.

Because Illinois law allows these mail-in ballots to arrive two weeks after the polls close, the results of the election could be delayed significantly. The only rules that are in place is that the mail-in ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day at the latest for election officials to be able to legally count them.

Election Day this year is November 8, which means the mail-in ballots could be counted as late as November 22.

Back in May, Judicial Watch filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Republican Representative Mike Bost as well as several voters from the state. The suit is challenging the state law that allows the mail-in ballots to be counted if they arrive that late.

Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, says that this Illinois law is in violation of federal law. As he commented recently:

“We’re supposed to have an election day, not election weeks of election months. Illinois’ 14 day of extension of election day beyond the date set by Congress is illegal, violates the civil rights of voters and encourages fraud.”

This week, the Illinois State Board of Elections said it was their policy not to comment on any pending litigation.

Last month, though, a spokesman for the board, Matt Dietrich, did say that counting ballots in this way was “normal” for Illinois. Back then, he told media outlet The Center Square:

“This is not a completely new phenomenon. It is something, though, that people should keep in mind, and they should realize that it’s normal.”

Fitton counters that by saying that votes should need to be received either on election day or before it in order to count. As he explained:

“Judicial Watch argues that holding voting open for 14 days past election day violates the constitutional rights of voters and candidates by counting untimely and illegal ballots received after election day and diluting plaintiffs’ timely cast and received ballots.”

The Democratic Party of Illinois motioned to intervened after the case was filed. By this week’s decision by the judge denied that request. In reading directly from that denial, Fitton said:

“Because allowing them to intervene would threaten to delay this time sensitive case further, the court in its discretion denies their motion seeking permission to intervene as a party.”