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Supreme Court rejects second GOP effort to block mail-ballot extension in North Carolina

The Supreme Court on Thursday denied a Republican bid to block a mail-ballot extension in North Carolina, a day after rejecting a similar GOP effort in the key battleground state.

The court's three most conservative justices — Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasTrump-era grievances could get second life at Supreme Court Joe Biden's surprising presidency Hillicon Valley: Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle | Justices dismiss suit over Trump's blocking of critics on Twitter | Tim Cook hopes Parler will return to Apple Store MORE, Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchTop GOP super PAC endorses Murkowski amid primary threat Trump-era grievances could get second life at Supreme Court Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle MORE and Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoTrump-era grievances could get second life at Supreme Court Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle Supreme Court revives police shooting victim's suit against officers MORE — would have granted the Republican request. Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettMcConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Progressives give Biden's court reform panel mixed reviews Top GOP super PAC endorses Murkowski amid primary threat MORE, who joined the bench Tuesday, took no part in considering the case.

The voting breakdown mirrored that of a similar Wednesday night ruling in which the court rejected an effort by the Trump campaign and North Carolina Republicans to reverse a six-day mail ballot due date extension.

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Together, the two rulings represent a major blow for President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE and his GOP allies and means that North Carolina mail ballots that arrive by Nov. 12 and aren’t postmarked after Election Day will be accepted.

North Carolina Republicans had asked the justices to effectively undo a state court-approved agreement to push back the deadline for the receipt of mail ballots to accommodate voters during the pandemic. 

Democrats and their allies have generally favored judicially ordered voting accommodations against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. But the GOP and their allies say that by relaxing state voting restrictions, judges have unlawfully taken the management of elections away from state legislatures. 

Trump and his Republican allies also frequently claim, largely without evidence, that easing voting rules opens elections up to widespread fraud.

Roughly 1.4 million voters in the state requested mail ballots for the upcoming election, which is almost seven times as many requests compared to this point in 2016, according to the Raleigh News and Observer. Polls show that supporters of Biden are about twice as likely as Trump voters to cast ballots by mail.

In other election-related disputes, the Supreme Court let stand a three-day mail ballot due date extension in Pennsylvania. But the justices rejected a Democratic push for a similar extension in Wisconsin, leaving the Nov. 3 deadline intact.