TOPEKA — The Kansas attorney general urged the U.S. Supreme Court to settle constitutional questions about the authority of state courts to extend deadlines for accepting election ballots in a controversy emerging in swing-state Pennsylvania.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, said the issue should be weighed by the nation’s highest court regardless of outcome of the presidential election.
News outlets declared Democratic nominee Joe Biden winner of the national popular vote and of the electoral college tally, but President Donald Trump raised unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Biden narrowly prevailed over Trump in Pennsylvania.
Schmidt asserted the Pennsylvania Supreme Court violated the U.S. Constitution by requiring election boards to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 6. The Republican Party in Peennsylvania appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing a state statute required ballots to be returned by Election Day. The nation’s highest court declined to hear the case.
In Kansas, state law permits counting of ballots postmarked by Election Day but received up to three days later.
“Courts, both before and during the pandemic, have upheld Election Day receipt deadlines, and COVID-19 does not make these laws unconstitutional,” Schmidt wrote in a brief supporting U.S. Supreme Court review.
Schmidt joined other Republican attorneys general in seeking “clear direction to courts in every state” about constitutionality of judicial alteration of election law established by state legislatures.