After Federal Judge Finds Ballot Deadline Extension “Likely Unconstitutional,” Legislative Leaders Seek Injunction
Federal judge found Democratic maneuver to illegally triple ballot deadline period “likely unconstitutional” and “violations found herein should be enjoined,” but says he doesn’t have power to block moves
Legislators to press claims on injunction in light of clear Constitutional violations by Dem Board of Elections, AG Stein
Raleigh, N.C. — Legislative leaders today asked Federal Judge William Osteen to grant an injunction pending appeal of the N.C. State Board of Elections’ unauthorized and illegal act to triple the time period after Election Day within which ballots may be extended. Read the motion here.
State law requires ballots to be received no later than three days after Election Day. But following secret negotiations between Attorney General Josh Stein, the Gov. Cooper-controlled Board of Elections, and Gov. Cooper’s former attorney Marc Elias, the Board announced that it would violate state law and extend the ballot deadline to nine days.
Attorney General Stein has refused to comply with state law by producing public records surrounding the secretive negotiations with Marc Elias.
Judge Osteen yesterday described the Board’s action as “likely unconstitutional” and concluded that it “should be enjoined.” Judge Osteen did not enjoin the act, though, because he believed he did not have the power to do so.
By seeking an injunction pending appeal, legislative leaders are asking Judge Osteen to act on his conclusion that the extension deadline “should be enjoined” while providing a pathway for a higher court to enforce the determination.
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “Judge Osteen found that a grave Constitutional violation has occurred. We are asking Judge Osteen to block the unconstitutional act, as he said should happen, while we seek enforcement of his determination from a higher court.”
Right now, the ballot receipt deadline is still three days after Election Day. The Board of Elections has not implemented its secretive and unconstitutional settlement agreement. Therefore, an injunction would maintain the status quo and avoid changing election rules after the election has already begun.
For weeks, legislative leaders have asked Gov. Cooper’s Board of Elections to drop their secretive settlement and abide by the laws passed months ago to set the rules for this election.