The deadline for receipt of Mail-in Absentee Ballots cast by North Carolina Voters in the November 3 general election is Thursday, November 12 at 5 pm.
During past elections, the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots was set at 5 pm, three days – the Friday – following the election.
The deadline was pushed back to November 12 as a result of a decision by the NC State Board of Elections to extend the period from three to nine days, due to possible mail delays resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result of court action and several appeals, by state and national Republicans, the US Supreme Court heard arguments prior to their Wednesday, October 28 decision on the ballot deadline extension.
On that date, by a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court declined overturning the NC State Board of Elections decision to extend the period in which mail-in absentee ballots would be accepted.
Chief Justice Roberts, and Associate Justices Breyer, Kagan, Kavanaugh, and Sotomayor voted in the majority opinion. Associate Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas dissented.
The initial change set in place by the state board of elections, extended the deadline for aceptance of absentee ballots postmark on or before election day, and loosened the requirements for fixing absentee ballots which lacked a witness signature.
This change was approved by a state judge as a result of a legal settlement between the state board of elections and the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans, a union-affiliated group. The settlement gave counties longer to accept ballots because of possible mail delays.
A later ruling from a federal judge struck down the ability of counties to accept absentee ballots which lacked a witness signature; however, the judge declined to strike down the deadline extension.