The Illinois Republican Party, which along with other Republican groups has attacked the Justice Department’s enforcement of the MOVE Act, wants the DOJ to force the state board of elections to accept military ballots postmarked after election day.
The MOVE Act, which is new this election, requires states to send overseas military voters absentee ballots at least 45 days before the election. Several states were granted waivers because of late primary dates but several, including Illinois, still failed to get their ballots out on time.
The DOJ sued, and came to a court-approved agreement with Illinois that the state would extend the deadline for postmarking military ballots from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2. The agreement also extends the deadline for receiving the ballots by two to three days, depending on the county, to Nov. 18 or Nov. 19.
The state GOP says that’s not enough, and filed a motion to intervene in the case. Among other things, according to court documents, the party demanded that the court erase any postmark deadline.
A federal judge, however, denied intervention during a hearing today, a DOJ spokesperson tells TPM.
The request, according to the head of the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, was “unprecedented.”
“The Illinois Republican Party is seeking unprecedented relief,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez told reporters today. “They want to give voters the right to wait until after Election Day to cast their vote. There has never been such a remedy ordered in our nation’s history, and that’s the remedy they are seeking.”
Additional reporting by Ryan J. Reilly