The Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday decided to uphold the North Carolina State Board of Elections' decision to extend the state's mail-in ballot deadline from three to nine days. The decision was made because of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
In order to count, ballots have to be postmarked on or before Election Day, but election officials must receive that ballot by 5 p.m. on Nov. 12.
The main question surrounding the case was whether or not the State Board of Elections had the authority to make deadline changes without consent from the North Carolina state legislature.
The decision was made 5-3, with newly-confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett sitting out “because of the need for a prompt resolution and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings,” court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg told the Associated Press.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Hagan in upholding the extension. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented.
“Despite the General Assembly’s considered judgment about the appropriate response to COVID, other state actors — including the State Board of Elections — recently chose to issue their own additional and supplemental set of amendments to state election laws,” Gorsuch wrote in a dissent that Alito joined, The News and Observer reported.“... Everyone agrees, too, that the North Carolina Constitution expressly vests all legislative power in the General Assembly, not the Board or anyone else.”