The Curse of ‘Pandemic Law’ Strikes the Electoral Process

On Monday, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to uphold a stay on a federal district court order that struck down Wisconsin’s November 3 absentee ballot deadline and extended the deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots until November 9, so long as the ballots were postmarked by Election Day. As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, Wisconsin law is restored, and the extension will not apply.

Your first response to this ruling may tend to turn on your partisan feelings. Republicans have been more skeptical of mail-in ballots, including expanded absentee balloting. Democrats have been much more receptive to voting by mail but are deeply concerned their votes may not count.

So, Republicans should be happy with the outcome and Democrats displeased, right? Not so fast. When you dive deeper into the case, you learn how a doctrine that grants your “side” victory in one case may doom you in another.

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