Court Battles

North Carolina GOP again asks Supreme Court to block mail ballot extension

North Carolina Republicans on Wednesday filed a second request to the Supreme Court asking justices to block a six-day mail ballot due date extension in the key battleground state.

The latest effort seeks the reversal of North Carolina's top state court, while a similar petition filed last week by President Trump's reelection campaign and state GOP members is aimed at blocking lower federal court rulings that relaxed the received-by deadline for mail ballots.

Both requests are now pending before the Supreme Court, which after the arrival Tuesday of Justice Amy Coney Barrett now has a 6-3 conservative majority. 

The GOP in both instances is asking the court to effectively block a state court-approved agreement to push back the deadline for the receipt of mail ballots by six days, from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12, for ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 3.

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 Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden in North Carolina, a must-win state for the president. National polls also show Biden supporters are about twice as likely as Trump voters to cast ballots by mail.

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 Wednesday petition from North Carolina Republicans heavily cited concurrences filed by Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch in a 5-3 ruling Monday in which the court's conservative majority rejected a Democratic bid to reinstate a mail-in ballot due date extension in Wisconsin.

Updated at 12:31 p.m.