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SJC to hear congressional candidate’s case to extend deadline for counting mail-in ballots

By LISA KASHINSKY lkashinsky@bostonherald.com

The state’s highest court expects to hold a hearing Monday on a lawsuit filed by 4th Congressional District candidate Becky Grossman that seeks to extend the counting period for mailed-in state primary ballots past Sept. 1.

“Today’s decision is one more step forward in the urgent fight to ensure that every vote is counted,” Grossman said in a statement. “Our mission is simple: Every vote postmarked by Sept. 1 should count.”

Grossman’s campaign filed the suit, which names Secretary of State William Galvin, on Wednesday. Associate Justice Scott Kafker on Thursday wrote that he would be putting the matter before the full Supreme Judicial Court for a telephonic hearing.

“We are pleased, and grateful, that the Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to hear this petition and to consider the vital issues of voters’ rights to vote and to actually have their votes counted that the petition raises, and to do so on an extraordinarily expedited basis,” said Jeff Robbins, one of the attorneys representing the Grossman campaign in the suit. Robbins also represents the Herald.

Grossman is seeking to extend the deadline for counting state primary ballots by 10 days, as long as they’re postmarked by Sept. 1, amid concerns over U.S. Postal Service mail delays.

Under current state law, voters have until Aug. 26 to submit requests for mail-in ballots. But in order to be counted, voters have to return their ballots to local election offices by Sept. 1 — just six days later.

Galvin’s office told the Herald on Wednesday that extending the deadline — and therefore extending when the primary results are finalized — could potentially disenfranchise military voters looking to cast ballots in the November election.

The nonprofit MassVOTE is also now urging Galvin to extend the deadline.

With the clock winding down until primary day on Sept. 1, the court appears to be moving the matter along swiftly. Galvin has until 5 p.m. Friday to file a response to Grossman’s complaint, and the plaintiffs have until 9 a.m. Monday to respond, according to court documents.

This story originally appeared in The Boston Herald. Check it out here!


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