Should Democrats not hand the nation a decisive victory on election day, Donald Trump has repeatedly warned that he’ll refuse to accept the results. In an opinion released Monday night on the 5-3 ruling against Democrats over Wisconsin mail-in ballots, Justice Brett Kavanaugh offered an ominous preview of how SCOTUS might rule should certain ballots be contested.
On the Wisconsin ruling, CNN reported: “Democrats in the state had asked the court to allow the counting of ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day if they were postmarked by November 3.The ruling was 5-3, coming just before the Senate voted to add Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Justice Elena Kagan, joined by her liberal colleagues, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, dissented from the court’s order.”
Politico reports: “Justice Brett Kavanaugh conjured up the specter of such a protracted battle as he argued in favor of allowing states to maintain firm deadlines requiring absentee ballots to be received by election officials on Election Day. … Kavanaugh also quoted a prominent law professor’s caution that allowing the election to drag out could fuel claims of foul play.”
Wrote Kavanaugh: “Those States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election. And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.”
Politico also notes that Kavanaugh quoted NYU professor Richard Pildes, who wrote: “Late-arriving ballots open up one of the greatest risks of what might, in our era of hyperpolarized political parties and existential politics, destabilize the election result. If the apparent winner the morning after the election ends up losing due to late-arriving ballots, charges of a rigged election could explode. The longer after Election Day any significant changes in vote totals take place, the greater the risk that the losing side will cry that the election has been stolen.”
Trump tweeted this shortly after the SCOTUS opinion was released.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin has ramped up its effort to get ballots in by election day, the NYT reports: “The Democratic Party of Wisconsin immediately announced a voter education project to alert voters that absentee ballots have to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. ‘We’re dialing up a huge voter education campaign,’ Ben Wikler, the state party chairman, said on Twitter. The U.S. Postal Service has recommended that voters mail their ballots by Oct. 27 to ensure that they are counted.”