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Federal judge upholds counting of late-arriving ballots in Minnesota

Plus: nursing home COVID restrictions loosened; the COVID outbreak at Stillwater prison; drivers do donuts, burnouts in Minneapolis’ North Loop; and more.

Mailing absentee ballot
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

Absentee ballot rules stand. The AP’s Amy Forliti reports (via the Star Tribune): “A federal judge has upheld a Minnesota state court agreement that allows counting of absentee ballots received up to seven days after Election Day. … Republicans had asked U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel to block the seven-day extension that Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon agreed to in state court after a citizens’ rights group cited concerns about voter safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ballots still must be postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted. … But Brasel ruled late Sunday night that the plaintiffs in the case — state Rep. Eric Lucero and another Republican who serves as an elector in the presidential election — don’t have standing and denied their motion for a preliminary injunction. She said giving voters conflicting information after absentee ballots have gone out would create confusion.

Loosening COVID restrictions for long-term care facilities. The Star Tribune’s Chris Serres reports: “Despite an alarming surge in coronavirus cases, the administration of Gov. Tim Walz is rolling back a heart-wrenching policy that prevented families from visiting their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities during the pandemic. … The Minnesota Department of Health issued new guidelines Monday that allow indoor visitations at most senior homes that have not had new COVID-19 infections in the preceding two weeks and the infection rate in the surrounding county is no more than 10%. But the state recommends that long-term care facilities limit how many visitors a resident can have at one time, as well as the duration of indoor visits.”

Inside the Stillwater prison outbreak. KARE’s Lou Raguse reports: “Looking strictly at the numbers, the outbreak looks grim. Positive COVID-19 numbers at the Stillwater Prison more than quadrupled in a week from 25 to 115. … But there are more to the numbers. … ‘Many of them, the vast majority of them, were asymptomatic,’ Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said.”

This again? WCCO reports: “Police say a group of drivers contributed to a dangerous and hostile situation overnight in downtown Minneapolis — and it was all caught on camera. … Video posted on social media shows the intersection of Washington and 3rd avenues in the North Loop neighborhood filled with cars, and drivers doing donuts and burnouts. … Police say the group also engaged in reckless driving in north Minneapolis and the Seward neighborhood.”

In other news…

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More coverage of George Floyd’s life from the Washington Post:In George Floyd’s high school, sports was seen as the ticket out” [Washington Post]

Name change considered:Henry Sibley, ‘pretty bad guy,’ may lose his namesake Minnesota high school” [City Pages]

Very sad:Brooklyn Park charter school principal dies after COVID-19 battle” [KMSP]

That is bad:South Dakota Reports 38% Positivity Rate In Daily Virus Tests” [WCCO]