Oct 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension

Absentee ballot election workers stuff ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4
An absentee ballot election worker stuffs ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3, Election Day, until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.

"North Carolina voters deserve clarity on whether they must rely on an overburdened Post Office to deliver their ballots within three days after Election Day."

What they're saying: "Several other provisions from the consent judgment remain in effect," said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, which brought the suit, in an emailed statement.

  • "Voters can continue to submit their mail ballots curbside by providing their name orally, without waiting in line with other one-stop voters, thus alleviating long lines and potential exposure to COVID-19 and will be able to cure several ballot witness issues under guidance released by the North Carolina State Board of Elections."

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic has seen the 2020 elections fight spill over into courtrooms, with the Supreme Court denying on Monday a request from Pennsylvania's Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the key state.

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