… By a vote of 12-3, the court of appeals denied their plea, leaving the nine-day extension in place. Judge James Wynn stressed that all absentee ballots must still be mailed by Election Day, and that the state’s election procedures had previously allowed ballots to be counted as long as they arrived within three days of Election Day.
All that the consent agreement does, Wynn reiterated, is extend that deadline from three days to nine.
Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson dissented from the 4th Circuit’s order, in an opinion joined by two other judges.
Wilkinson complained that federal courts and state election boards are “upend[ing] the set rules” for elections, which are established by state legislatures, and then claiming that their actions are the “new status quo” and cannot be disturbed.
Both sets of filings at the Supreme Court on Thursday made similar arguments, telling the justices that the extension of the deadline for absentee ballots violates the Constitution’s elections clause, which tasks the state legislatures with determining the time, place and manner for federal elections, as well as the Constitution’s equal protection clause, by applying different rules depending on when voters cast their ballots.
Both filings also argued as Moore and Berger put it, that election officials “are disserving North Carolina voters and sowing considerable confusion through their” consent agreement “and ever-changing directives.”
However, the Trump campaign and the RNC sought broader relief than Moore and Berger, asking the court to block not only the extension of the absentee-ballot deadline but also other changes to the state’s election procedures and suggesting that the court treat their request as a petition for review and issue a decision on the merits “as soon as possible.”
Both requests will go to Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles emergency appeals from the 4th Circuit.
Roberts can act on the request alone or, as is more likely, refer it to the full court after first calling for a response.