Absentee ballots that arrive before or on Nov. 12 in North Carolina will be counted after the US Supreme Court declined Wednesday to hear a case challenging the state’s deadline extension.
Despite pleas from high-profile Republicans for the Supreme Court to hear arguments in the case, Wednesday’s 5-3 vote leaves undisturbed a decision by the state’s Board of Elections to lengthen the grace period for receiving absentee ballots from three to nine days due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh joined the high court’s liberal in the majority, while Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Newly sworn-in Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not take part in the vote due to a “need for a prompt resolution and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings,” court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
According to North Carolina’s State Board of Elections, absentee ballots still must be postmarked by Election Day and will have to be received no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 12.
“North Carolina voters had a huge win tonight at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court upheld the State Board of Elections’ effort to ensure that every eligible vote counts, even during a pandemic,” North Carolina’s Attorney General, Josh Stein said in a tweet.
“Voters must have their mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day, but now we all have certainty that every eligible vote will be counted. Let’s vote!”
Republican state Senate Leader Phil Berger, however, said the decision will ultimately undermine the public’s confidence in the government.
“May unelected bureaucrats on a state panel controlled by one political party overrule election laws passed by legislatures, even after ballots have already been cast? If public confidence in elections is important to our system of government, then hopefully the answer to that question is no,” Berger said in a statement.
With Post Wires