Supreme Court Allows Ballots In North Carolina To Arrive 9 Days Late And Be Counted

( Liberals won another election victory on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina could count mail-in ballots that arrive up to nine days after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked by November 3.

Newly-sworn-in Justice Amy Coney Barrett didn’t take part in the decision as she didn’t have time to fully review the brief, according to the court.

The Trump campaign as well as the national and state Republican Party asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a deadline the North Carolina Legislature had set back in June. That deadline would have only allowed late ballots to be counted if they arrived within three days after November 3, and only if they were postmarked by Election Day.

Following the ruling, Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina, called it a “huge win.” In a statement, he said:

“The Court upheld the State Board of Elections’ effort to ensure that every eligible vote counts, even during a pandemic.”

The Supreme Court didn’t specify a vote count for this order. However, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito did not their dissent. That means that Chief Justice John Roberts and/or Justice Brett Kavanaugh had to have sided with liberals, as it would’ve taken five justices to grant the Republican request.

As in other recent cases, the Supreme Court will often not change election rules so close to an election, regardless of which political party it may rule in favor of or against. As such, the court has sided with keeping rules in place rather than shaking things up. It’s why Roberts and/or Kavanaugh may have sided with liberals.

As Rick Hassen, an expert in election law, said:

“Many voters have already made their voting plans dependent on the deadlines.”

There were two challenges in the North Carolina case. One was brought by some Republicans and the Trump campaign. The other was brought by Republican legislators in North Carolina.

The State Board of Elections set the nine-day extension for ballots as part of a legal settlement. A federal appeals court upheld that extension earlier in October.

In their ruling, the appeals court wrote:

“The extension simply makes it easier for more people to vote absentee in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed over 200,000 Americans.”

Republicans, though, argued the board tried to “rewrite the election code,” usurping the General Assembly’s authority in the process, since they passed a three-day extension back in June.

Lawyers for Republicans said in their filings that the board’s decision “undermines the equal protection rights of voters, and is already causing the voter confusion and chaos.”

In a dissent, Gorsuch wrote on behalf of himself and Alito. He stressed that the state Legislature is the only board that has the authority to set rules for elections, not an unelected board. He wrote:

“Everyone agrees that the North Carolina Constitution expressly vests all legislative power in the General Assembly, not the Board or anyone else.”