Decision 2020

Massachusetts Deadline for Mail-in Ballots Will Stand, Galvin Says

Despite Donald Trump's attacks on mail-in ballots postmarked by election day arriving this week in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin says he's confident the state's similar grace period would withstand any potential legal challenges

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Secretary of State William Galvin said Wednesday he's confident an extended Nov. 6 deadline to receive mail-in ballots in Massachusetts would withstand any potential legal challenge, despite calls by the president to exclude ballots that arrive after election day.

President Donald Trump's campaign announced Wednesday it will challenge the mail-in voting timetable in hotly-contested Pennsylvania, where a court previously ruled ballots received up to three days after the election should be counted.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts established a similar grace period, allowing ballots that were postmarked by election day to arrive in local election offices as late as 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.

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Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Galvin said he's confident the Nov. 6 deadline will stand, and the president would have no basis to challenge it in court.

"The idea that you would somehow disqualify the rights of voters simply because you are ahead is simply unacceptable, un-American and criminal," he said.

It's unclear how many ballots in Massachusetts will arrive between Wednesday and Friday, though the tally could be in the thousands. Some 240,000 mail-in ballots were still outstanding as of early Monday, though that number dwindled rapidly, sinking below 180,000 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Galvin said.

Election officials also expect that many mail-in ballots won't be returned, since many voters who originally planned to vote by mail instead voted early or in person.

In Quincy, election officials received at least 10 more ballots Wednesday. Of more than 21,000 issued this year, they anticipate no more than a few hundred more will come by Friday

City Clerk Nicole Crispo said her staff is anxious to close the books on this year's historic election, which saw a massive surge in mail-in voting, adding complexity to the process.

"It doesn’t matter how many we get," Crispo said. "They will all be counted as long as they have the postmark on them."

Election officials described Tuesday's election as a success in Massachusetts, with no major problems, though some voters waited in long lines in Boston, and a small number of others faced administrative challenges at the polls.

Democrat Joe Biden won Massachusetts and Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Markey was reelected for another six-year term as voting concluded Tuesday. In the state's 4th Congressional District, Democratic Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss became the newest member of the state's all-Democratic congressional delegation.

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