Federal appeals court allows North Carolina to accept mail-in ballots nine days after polls close

Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be accepted until Nov. 12.

Published: October 21, 2020 8:22am

Updated: October 21, 2020 5:39pm

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld North Carolina's plan extending the time for accepting absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 election.

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision denied an effort to keep the state's Board of Election from counting ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 but arriving before Nov. 12.

North Carolina in past elections has counted absentee ballots arriving up to three days after the election. But the election board agreed last month to extend the deadline to nine days, amid the unprecedented number of mail-in ballots as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Judge James Wynn wrote about the court's 12-3 ruling that all ballots must still be mailed on or before Election Day and that the accepted change is "simply an extension from three to nine days after Election Day for a timely ballot to be received and counted. That is all."

The appeals case was filed by President Trump's reelection campaign after a U.S. District Court held up the plan last week, according to the Hill newspaper. 

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