With deadline extended, 233,000 absentee by-mail ballots remain outstanding as Election Day looms

Despite the deadline extension, state election officials are urging voters to act quickly
Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 6:40 PM EDT
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NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Two 5-3 decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States have solidified the deadline for absentee by-mail ballots to arrive in North Carolina board of elections offices as Thursday, Nov. 12.

As of Thursday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections reported 233,000 of the roughly 1.45 million requested ballots had not been returned or the requester had not voted in-person early.

Despite the deadline extension, state election officials are urging voters to act quickly.

“Even with the deadline extension, we encourage voters to return their absentee ballot as soon as possible and ensure it is postmarked,” said NCSBE executive director Karen Brinson Bell.

“Please make sure your ballot is counted. Return it now.”

The deadline will allow ballots more time to arrive in the hands of county elections officials, after advocates who sued the state board argued more time was needed because of the overwhelming number of requests.

It also will help mitigate the continued slowdowns at the United States Postal Service.

Earlier this year, USPS officials warned 46 state elections boards, including North Carolina’s, that voters should allot a week or more for their ballot to travel to the board.

Bell told the NC Watchdog Reporting Network last week North Carolina is seeing faster turn-around times than that, but they still want voters to make haste.

"We are seeing a better turnaround than what the 10-day period was indicated by the USPS for the most part, but we have been encouraging voters all along to make those requests early and return them as quickly as possible, either by dropping them off at the county board of elections or returning them by mail.”

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