President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee filed an emergency request to delay a North Carolina court ruling allowing mail-in ballots to be accepted as many as nine days after Election Day, arguing the extension could confuse “procrastinating voters.”
US District Judge William Osteen’s ruling late Wednesday extending the deadline will cause “mass confusion” and could result in voters failing to send their ballots in on time, the Trump campaign and the RNC said in a filing Thursday in Greensboro.
The ruling “gives procrastinating voters another excuse to wait, and perhaps miss the postmark deadline, or may mislead voters if it turns out that the extension is overturned on appeal before Election Day,” they said.
North Carolina voters have already requested 1.3 million absentee ballots, and more than 500,000 have been cast under the existing rules, which allow votes to be counted as many as three days after the Nov. 3 contest, according to the plaintiffs, who are appealing the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
State election officials extended the deadline last month. Osteen ruled that returning to the earlier deadline now would violate Supreme Court precedent because it’s too close to the election to make that change. The Republicans argue it’s the judge’s decision that’s changing the status quo late in the game. They asked Osteen to place a hold on his ruling pending their appeal.
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