AG Curtis Hill: 7th Circuit Issues Temporary Stay of District Court Ballot-Receipt Injunction

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Attorney General Curtis Hill Thursday asked a federal appeals court to stay a district court injunction requiring election officials to count mail-in ballots received after the state’s deadline of noon on Election Day.

The court, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, immediately granted an administrative stay of the district court’s injunction to remain in effect until it considers the state’s motion.

Attorney General Curtis Hill

“The noon Election Day deadline set by the General Assembly is as reasonable as any other,” Attorney General Hill said. “It ensures that the vast majority of ballots cast are counted on Election Day, thereby promoting public confidence in elections by allowing most races to be called on Election Day, not days or weeks later.”

Indiana law provides voters multiple ways to cast their ballots. In-person voters may either vote at their precinct polling place (or vote center) sometime between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 3 or cast an in-person absentee ballot at the clerk’s office (or authorized satellite location) sometime during the 28 days ending on noon Nov. 2. And, unless they are overseas, Hoosiers who are eligible and choose to cast a mail-in ballot must ensure their ballots are received by noon on Nov. 3.

A federal district court recently issued a preliminary injunction against the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots — ordering that Indiana must extend that deadline by 10 days so long as ballots were postmarked by Election Day. That ruling, Attorney General Hill said, flies in the face of repeated U.S. Supreme Court admonitions that courts should not issue election-related injunctions at the eleventh hour as well as recent federal court decisions (including from the 7th Circuit) specifically rejecting requests to extend Election Day ballot-receipt deadlines in other states. On Tuesday, the district court temporarily stayed its injunction for seven days to permit the state time to seek a longer stay from the 7th Circuit. Today’s filing asks for that relief, and today’s order from the 7th Circuit declares that “(t)he stay entered by the district court will remain in force until this Court has had an opportunity to rule on the state’s motion.”

Attached are Indiana’s motion to stay the lower court’s preliminary injunction, along with exhibits to the motion, and Thursday’s order from the 7th Circuit.