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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 ThomasFor Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Defusing the judicial confirmation process Will the Supreme Court take ObamaCare off life-support? MORE, Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchSupreme Court sees new requests for religious COVID-19 carve-outs California megachurch says it has a 'biblical mandate' to meet after Supreme Court decision For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty MORE and Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoConservative justices seem prepared to let Trump proceed with immigrant census plan for now For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Alito to far-right litigants: The buffet is open MORE — would have granted the Republican request. Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettGraham reports 'record-breaking' 9M haul during 2020 campaign The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Supreme Court sees new requests for religious COVID-19 carve-outs 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 John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech 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.