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N. Carolina GOP asks Supreme Court to roll back extra time for accepting mail-in ballots

The Trump campaign said extending the deadline would "pose an immediate threat to the integrity of the federal election process."
Workers prepare absentee ballots for mailing at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 3.Gerry Broome / AP file

WASHINGTON — Republicans in the presidential battleground state of North Carolina asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block lower court rulings that allowed six extra days to accept ballots sent by mail.

The Trump campaign, the state and national Republican parties and Republican leaders of the state Legislature said decisions by North Carolina's Board of Elections, upheld by federal courts, "pose an immediate threat to the integrity of the federal elections process."

The board changed the mail ballot deadline from Nov. 6, which the Legislature set in June, to Nov. 12. A federal district judge refused to block the change, and so did the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"All ballots must still be mailed on or before Election Day," said Judge James A. Wynn Jr. of the appeals court. "The 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 Republican challengers said the board usurped the power given to state legislatures by the Constitution to set the rules for conducting elections.

"The public interest favors adhering to the rules for the election established by the General Assembly and in place when voting began," they said in an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles appeals from the 4th Circuit, called for a response from the elections board by Saturday afternoon.