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 ThomasSotomayor says recent changes were made because male justices interrupted female colleagues Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform ESPN removes Sage Steele from programming after controversial remarks MORE, Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchJustices weigh request for information on CIA's post-9/11 torture program Supreme Court declines to hear dispute over DC representation in Congress Supreme Court low on political standing MORE and Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoSen. Whitehouse blasts Alito speech: 'You have fouled your nest, not us' Breyer: Supreme Court 'fallible,' but has served US 'pretty well' Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform MORE — would have granted the Republican request. Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettBiden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Couric says she edited Ginsburg interview to 'protect' justice from criticism Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform 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 TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump 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.