Appeals case that alleges Alaska absentee application mailings is discriminatory stalls

Absentee voting in Alaska.
Absentee voting in Alaska.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 12:52 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - A lawsuit that seeks to have absentee ballot applications sent to all Alaskan voters is unlikely to be heard by a federal appeals court before the Nov. 3 election.

The case centers on the decision by Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer to send absentee ballot applications to all Alaskan voters who are 65 and older. The suit alleges that it’s discriminatory to not send the applications to all registered voters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the month, U.S. District Court Judge Josh Kindred denied a request by the Disability Law Center of Alaska to compel Meyer to send the ballot applications to all Alaskan voters.

That decision was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On Monday, the court denied a request to make an emergency decision in the case.

The briefing schedule set by the court goes beyond Nov. 3, meaning a decision in the case is virtually certain not to be made before the general election.

Sam Gottstein, the attorney representing the Disability Law Center of Alaska, said the plaintiffs are looking at what that means for the appeal itself. “We’re still weighing our next steps,” he added.

According to briefings made to the federal appeals court, the State of Alaska is set to send out a message to Alaskans via myAlaska soon to remind people that they can apply for absentee ballots for any reason.

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