Supreme Court Rules North Carolina Can Accept Mail-In Ballots Up To 9 Days After Election

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Trump campaign and Republicans’ effort to reverse a mail-in ballot extension in North Carolina that allows ballots to be counted as late as Nov. 12.

Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the request. Newly confirmed Justice my Coney Barrett did not participate in the consideration of the case.

Justice Gorsuch wrote that the state legislature and Congress can decide the time, place and manner of holding an election, and the State Assembly did not authorize the 6 day ballot extension, noting the Board of Elections doesn’t have a “blank check” to “rewrite the election code in any and all consent decrees it may wish to enter.”

“Efforts like these not only offend the Elections Clause’s textual commitment of responsibility for election lawmaking to state and federal legislators, they do damage to faith in the written Constitution as law, to the power of the people to oversee their own government, and to the authority of legislatures,” Gorsuch wrote. “Such last-minute changes by largely unaccountable bodies, too, invite confusion, risk altering election outcomes, and in the process threaten voter confidence in the results.”

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein celebrated the decision as a “win.” (RELATED: Supreme Court Won’t Extend Absentee Ballot Deadline In Wisconsin, Ballots Must Be In By Election Day)

“A HUGE win tonight for NC voters at SCOTUS, which upheld the State Board of Elections’ effort to ensure that every eligible vote counts, even in a pandemic. Voters must postmark their ballots by Election Day but now have certainty their vote will be counted. Let’s vote!”

The Supreme Court’s decision upholds a decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled in favor of the Board of Elections, allowing mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day but received by Nov. 12 to be counted as valid.

The state expanded the deadline for absentee ballots from three days after the election to nine days after the election. The Trump campaign and state Republican Party sued over the extension, arguing it violated North Carolina’s election code

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the fight for Republicans may not be over, with North Carolina Republicans filing a second request to the high court asking justices to reverse a North Carolina’s top state court ruling that upheld the ballot due date extension, according to The Hill.