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Supreme Court rejects final GOP effort to limit count of absentee ballots in NC

Image: NC State Board of Elections

In case you missed it, the U.S. Supreme Court put what appears to be the final nail in the coffin of Republican efforts to reverse a court decision that will allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be counted if they are received by Nov. 12 — provided they’re postmarked by Election Day. This from a story in the D.C newsletter The Hill:

The Supreme Court on Thursday denied a Republican bid to block a mail-ballot extension in North Carolina, a day after rejecting a similar GOP effort in the key battleground state.

The court’s three most conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito — would have granted the Republican request. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the bench Tuesday, took no part in considering the case.

The voting breakdown mirrored that of a similar Wednesday night ruling in which the court rejected an effort by the Trump campaign and North Carolina Republicans to reverse a six-day mail ballot due date extension.

Good government and voting rights advocates lauded the ruling. This is from Common Cause North Carolina:

Common Cause NC applauds U.S. Supreme Court decision letting stand extension for absentee ballots to be received in North Carolina

RALEIGH – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday let stand an extended period by which mailed absentee ballots can be counted in North Carolina.

The State Board of Elections had approved an extension by which mailed absentee ballots postmarked on or before the Nov. 3 Election Day deadline can be received by county boards of elections. The extension allows ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3 to be received through Nov. 12. In separate cases before it on Wednesday and Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that extension to remain in place for this year’s election.

The following is a statement from Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC:

“Today’s news from the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for voters in our state. With a record increase in North Carolinians choosing to vote absentee by mail amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the common-sense decision by the State Board of Elections will help ensure that ballots postmarked on or before the Nov. 3 deadline are given sufficient time to arrive at county boards of elections and be properly counted.

“The extension does not change the deadline by which voters must mail back their absentee ballot – that remains Nov. 3. It simply helps make sure that voters who follow the rules and meet the Nov. 3 deadline won’t have their vote discarded due to a possible delay in mail delivery. That’s just fair.”

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