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Absentee ballot election workers work on ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Tuesday announced it will tentatively count mail-in ballots received by Nov. 12 — up to nine days after the election — so long as they're postmarked on or before Election Day.

Why it matters: If approved by the court, the agreement — which settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees — could see scores of additional votes counted in the crucial battleground state.

Worth noting: The settlement keeps in place a rule requiring voters to have a witness sign their absentee ballot envelope.

  • The State Board will now permit voters whose witnesses fail to fill required fields to correct those errors through an affidavit of the voter.
  • "Issues with deficient witness information on mail-in ballots have disproportionately affected Black voters," AP writes.

The big picture: Four other presidential swing states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin — have extended the deadline by which absentee ballots will be counted.

What they're saying: “Voters deserve certainty," State Board Chair Damon Circosta said. "Our board, both Democrats and Republicans, agreed unanimously to make these commonsense changes to our process amid the Covid-19 pandemic,”

  • “We have ensured that our election process is secure and accessible.”

What to watch: Both the state and the group that sued have agreed to the settlement details, however it must still be approved by a judge.

Go deeper: Court battles shift mail-in voting deadlines in battleground states

Go deeper

Dec 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Early voting begins in Georgia's key Senate runoffs

Voters line outside the High Museum polling station in Atlanta, Georgia on the first day of voting in the state's Senate runoffs. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

People lined up outside polling places across Georgia on Monday for the first day of early voting in the state's two runoff elections that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: More than 1.2 million people have already requested mail-in absentee ballots and more than 260,000 have returned them as of Monday, per data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Updated Dec 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Electoral College affirms Biden's victory

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Biden officially received the majority of Electoral College votes on Monday, further solidifying his victory even though the outcome of the election has been known for weeks.

Why it matters: The Electoral College result affirms Biden as the next president after weeks of President Trump's false accusations that the election was stolen from him, dozens of failed legal challenges from the Trump campaign, and protests threatening the safety of states' electors.

46 mins ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.