More than a dozen Democratic state attorneys general on Monday urged the Supreme Court to deny a request from the Trump campaign to block an extended mail ballot due date in North Carolina.
The Monday filing comes after the Trump campaign and top Republican state lawmakers asked the justices last week to reverse lower court rulings that pushed back the deadline for the receipt of mail ballots by six days.
A group of 14 state attorneys generals, plus Karl Racine of Washington, D.C., argued in a friend-of-the-court brief that North Carolina’s new deadline was a reasonable accommodation in light of the coronavirus pandemic and anticipated delays by the Postal Service.
“As the primary managers of the election process and protectors of the public health, states have an obligation to protect each citizen’s constitutional right to vote while ensuring that this right can be exercised safely,” they wrote.
North Carolina is one of several key battleground states where the Trump campaign and other Republicans are fighting against eased mail voting restrictions. GOP-allied groups argue that an uptick in mail balloting due to the pandemic opens the election to widespread fraud, though election law experts say that claim is unsupported by evidence.
The dispute in North Carolina arose after the state’s board of elections agreed to push back the mail ballot received-by date from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12 for ballots that are postmarked by the Nov. 3 Election Day.
A federal trial court judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit declined to block the extension, prompting the Trump campaign’s filing on Thursday to the Supreme Court.
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.
Recent polling shows a tight race between President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE in North Carolina, a must-win state for Trump. National polls also show Biden supporters are about twice as likely as Trump voters to cast ballots by mail.