Trump Campaign Suffers North Carolina Setback as Supreme Court Rejects Mall-In Ballot Case

The Supreme Court declined to hear a case that sought to shorten the window of time that North Carolina voters had for submitting mail-in absentee ballots from nine days to three days.

The Court's decision represents a loss for the re-election campaign of Republican President Donald Trump which has largely opposed mail-in ballots over unsupported fears of widespread voter fraud.

Though the court did not release a breakdown of the votes, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito penned a dissent. According to Gorsuch's dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas would have joined. Newly seated Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not weigh in on the decision.

This last summer, the state's General Assembly maintained pre-existing rules requiring mail-in ballots to be received no more than three days after Election Day. However, the State Board of Elections extended the deadline by six days, pushing the absentee ballot receipt deadline back to November 12.

Republicans plaintiffs argued that the board had overridden the General Assembly's authority, "causing voter confusion and chaos." But lawyers for the Democratic board said that laws passed by the assembly gave the board power to adjust election rules based on unique circumstances, like a pandemic.

In a statement, Democratic North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein called the court ruling a "huge win," adding, "The Court upheld the State Board of Elections' effort to ensure that every eligible vote counts, even during a pandemic."

Newsweek contacted the North Carolina Republican party for comment.

Although North Carolina has chosen a Republican president every election for over 60 years, a Gravis Marketing poll released Wednesday showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden beating Trump 49 percent to Trump's 46 percent. However, Biden's lead fell within the poll's 4 percent margin of error.

Supreme Court South Carolina mail-in ballots extension
The Supreme Court just ruled that uphold a deadline extension giving South Carolina voters nine days to submit their mail-in ballots. In this October 28, 2020 photo, election workers extract mail-in ballots from their envelopes and examine the ballot for irregularities at the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorders' mail-in ballot processing center. Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty

On October 19, the court ruled similarly on a case in which Republicans sought to overturn part of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision allowing ballots postmarked by November 3 to be counted three days after Election Day.

Trump has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting as potentially allowing widespread voter fraud despite the fact that he has voted by mail in Florida in past elections. Studies have repeatedly shown little to no evidence of widespread voter fraud stemming from mail-in voting.

Many states have expanded mail-in voting options to allow citizens to cast ballots in the national elections without risking possible COVID-19 exposure during the ongoing pandemic.

During a March 30 episode of Fox & Friends, Trump said of mail-in voting, "If you ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again." On April 8, Trump tweeted that mail-in voting "doesn't work out well for Republicans" despite studies showing that mail-in voting does not favor either party.