Disappointment for North Carolina Republicans as Supreme Court rejects ballot dispute

Some of the millions of mail-in election ballots are shown at the Orange County Registrar of voters before being sent to the U.S. Postal Service for delivery to voters in Santa Ana, California, U.S.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected another bid by North Carolina Republicans to block the extension of a deadline for receiving mail-in ballots next Tuesday’s election.

In a brief order, the justices denied a request by Republican lawmakers in the state to put on hold an agreement made by state election officials allowing the extension that a North Carolina state court had approved. On Wednesday, the justices rebuffed a separate bid by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign to block the deadline extension through federal courts.

Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch said they would have granted the Republican request to block the ballot deadline extension. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court on Tuesday as Trump’s third appointee, did not participate in the case. Barrett did not have time to review the case filings fully, a court spokeswoman said in a statement.

Citing potential U.S. Postal Service mail delivery delays, the state election board had opted to allow absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if they arrived up to nine days later.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday also delivered a setback to Republicans in a similar dispute in Pennsylvania, declining to expedite a decision on whether to hear a Republican bid to block an extended mail-in ballots deadline in that state.

Both states are pivotal to Trump’s re-election chances against Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

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