Updated Oct 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects second GOP effort to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Judicial Branch of government.
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The Supreme Court, for the second time in two days, rejected a GOP request to shorten the deadline mail-in ballots must be received by North Carolina officials to be counted.

The state of play: The state's deadline had been extended from 3 days to 9 days post-Election Day.

The big picture: These are the latest in a series of decisions over ballot deadlines in states across the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The rulings come shortly after the court rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend that state’s deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days post-Election Day.

Conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented in each of the decisions in a 5-3 vote.

  • As in the ruling to deny a bid from Pennsylvania Republicans to expedite their request to shorten the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots, newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in either decisions.
  • This was "because of the need for a prompt resolution and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings," the court said.

Background: A federal appeals court ruled last Wednesday that North Carolina could accept absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, Election Day, until Nov. 12 because of the pandemic.

What to watch: A similar case regarding Minnesota’s extended mail-in ballot deadline is making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • The court has been siding with lower state courts’ decisions thus far, which would keep the extended deadline in place in Minnesota as well.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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