WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court Supreme Court refused Wednesday to second-guess election rules in North Carolina, a key battleground state, that allow absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if they arrive up to nine days later. The Court allowed the State of North Carolina to decision to stand–giving states more power to ensure citizens right-to-vote.
This summer, the General Assembly of North Carolina adopted new election laws expressly designed to address the challenges COVID posed to a fast-approaching election. Among other things, the General Assembly reduced the witness requirement for absentee ballots from two witnesses
to one, N. C. Sess. Laws 2020–17 §1.(a); freed up more individuals to staff polling centers, §1.(b); created a mechanism to allow voters to track their ballots, §3.(a); enabled voters to request absentee ballots online, §7.(a); and increased funding to ensure the State’s in-person and absentee voting
infrastructure could withstand “the coronavirus pandemic,” §11.1(a)–(f ).
Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the court’s denial of state Republicans’ petition. Justice Amy Coney Barret did not participate in the decision.
The court’s order was the latest blow against the Republican Party in a string of rulings on last-minute challenges brought by both political parties in states that could determine the outcome of the presidential race.