facebook linkedin twitter

Supreme Court Turns Down GOP Bid to Limit Time for Mail Ballots in N.C., Pa.

October 29, 2020by David G. Savage Los Angeles Times
The U.S. Capitol as seen from the Supreme Court building. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down an appeal from North Carolina’s Republican leaders, leaving in place rulings that require the counting of late-arriving ballots as long as they were in the mail by Election Day.

The 5-3 decision had the effect of upholding actions by the North Carolina board of elections to extend the deadlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately Wednesday, the justices also turned down a second appeal from Pennsylvania’s Republican leaders, who had urged the court to block state court rulings that allowed for counting late-arriving mail ballots. Last week, the justices, on a tie vote, left in place the same state ruling.

A few days later, their lawyers tried again, arguing the court should take up the entire case and issue a written ruling. That request was turned down unanimously.

The pair of decisions are victories for Democrats and voting rights advocates who argued for extending the deadlines for counting ballots that were postmarked by Election Day. In North Carolina, ballots may arrive as late as Nov. 12 and still be counted. The deadline for mail ballots in Pennsylvania is Nov. 6, three days after the election.

The three most conservative justices dissented in the North Carolina case. The court said Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who won Senate confirmation on Monday evening, did not take part in either decision.

The outcome is somewhat of a surprise, and it may reflect the fact that it is very late for the courts to tamper with the deadlines. In addition, North Carolina officials said the relaxed deadline for counting late ballots did not clearly conflict with state law.

In recent weeks, the high court has regularly blocked changes in the voting rules or deadlines that were ordered by federal judges in response to the pandemic. The court’s conservatives have argued it is most important to maintain the procedures set in state election law prior to this year.

But in the North Carolina case, the state board of elections agreed to the longer deadline, and both state and federal judges approved the Nov. 9 deadline because of the pandemic and the U.S. Postal Service’s delay in delivering the mail.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have granted the appeal and blocked the longer deadline.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh voted with the three liberal justices to turn away the appeal, but none of them explained their reasons.

In their appeal, the Republican leaders of the North Carolina Legislature had accused the state board of changing the state’s voting laws on the eve of the election. They argued “the public interest favors adhering to the rules for the election established by the General Assembly and in place when the voting began, not contrary rules that the North Carolina State Board of Educations” had adopted in response to reports of postal service delays.

Lawyers for the state board said they acted in response to warnings from the U.S. Postal Service that delays in mail delivery could result in legally cast ballots arriving too late to be counted.

___

(c)2020 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

2020 Elections

Trump Lawyers Might be Penalized Over Michigan Election Case

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge is considering whether to order financial penalties or other sanctions against some of former... Read More

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge is considering whether to order financial penalties or other sanctions against some of former President Donald Trump's lawyers who signed onto a lawsuit last year challenging Michigan's election results. The lawsuit alleging widespread fraud was voluntarily dropped after a judge... Read More

June 15, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Begins Investigation of Alleged Justice Dept. Abuses

WASHINGTON -- A powerful congressional committee is beginning an investigation into reports the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed information about members... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A powerful congressional committee is beginning an investigation into reports the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed information about members of Congress and journalists during the Trump administration. The committee’s chairman said he was concerned the Justice Department “used criminal investigations as a pretext to spy... Read More

AP Interview: Disinformation Concerns Mail Voting Expert

ATLANTA (AP) — Amber McReynolds, CEO of The National Vote at Home Institute, helped state and local election officials prepare... Read More

ATLANTA (AP) — Amber McReynolds, CEO of The National Vote at Home Institute, helped state and local election officials prepare for the record number of mailed ballots cast during last year's presidential election. She also was recently confirmed by the Senate to serve on the Board... Read More

'I'm Still Exhaling': Swing-state Voters on Biden's 100 Days

ELM GROVE, Wis. (AP) — Standing on the sidelines of her son's soccer practice in this upscale suburb, Laura Hahn... Read More

ELM GROVE, Wis. (AP) — Standing on the sidelines of her son's soccer practice in this upscale suburb, Laura Hahn looked skyward for answers when asked how she would rate President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office.  Overall, Biden is doing well, she said after... Read More

March 31, 2021
by Dan McCue
Guess What? The 2020 Election Is Now Officially Over

Democrat Rita Hart threw in the towel Wednesday afternoon, giving up her bid to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, and... Read More

Democrat Rita Hart threw in the towel Wednesday afternoon, giving up her bid to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, and effectively ending the 2020 election cycle. Hart, who had been challenging the outcome of the race before the Committee on House Administration, said in a brief... Read More

March 26, 2021
by Dan McCue
Fox News Slapped With $1.6 Billion Lawsuit Over 2020 Election Claims

Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing the cable news company sought... Read More

Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing the cable news company sought to boost faltering ratings by falsely claiming the voting machine company had rigged the 2020 election.  The company, which is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and Denver,... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top