The Supreme Court's latest decision on the election is a win for Democrats: North Carolina can count ballots received up to nine days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3, the high court ruled Wednesday. Republicans and the Trump campaign filed two separate appeals asking the justices to reinstate a deadline of just three days after Election Day; the State Board of Elections had, without legislative approval, extended that deadline amid the coronavirus pandemic, and a federal appeals court earlier this month allowed it to stand. The SCOTUS decision was 5-3, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
The justices had recently sided with Republicans in a similar case regarding Wisconsin, and declined to get involved in one regarding Pennsylvania. (While it was speculated the newest justice might play a part in this and other election-related cases, Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the North Carolina or Pennsylvania decisions, and the Wisconsin one came just before she was confirmed.) One election law expert explains that, in this case, a conservative-leaning judge might have decided to side with his more liberal-leaning colleagues due to the more complicated procedural issues involved—or it could simply have been because the justices were reluctant to change the rules so close to Election Day: "Many voters have already made their voting plans," he tells CNN. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)