WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Sept. 19, the North Carolina Alliance of Retired Americans (the Alliance) filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the Republican National Committee, the North Carolina Republican Party and the chairwoman of the Clay County Republican Party challenging North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) guidance regulating two election-related procedures. First, the plaintiffs challenge the three-day extension of the state’s absentee ballot receipt deadline. Absentee ballots in North Carolina are due three days after Election Day, but because the deadline falls on Nov. 11 (which is Veterans Day, a state and federal holiday) this year the NCSBE extended the deadline from Nov. 11 to the next business day, Nov. 14. The plaintiffs also challenge the four-hour, one observer requiriment for poll observers, which sets the amount of time that at-large partisan election observers — party-designated observers who are permitted to attend any polling place on Election Day — must spend at a given polling site on Election Day to a minimum of four hours and only allows for one at-large observer to be present at a given polling place at a time.
In seeking to intervene in the case, the Alliance wants to defend the extension of the absentee ballot receipt deadline, noting that the Republicans’ “demand that North Carolina reject timely postmarked ballots not received by Friday, November 11—a federal and state holiday on which no mail is delivered—would directly and immediately harm Alliance members” who are “particularly likely to rely” on absentee voting. The Alliance also pushes back against the plaintiffs’ challenge to the poll observer limitations, arguing that the rule is essential to maintaining “good order at polling sites.” The Alliance points out that the poll observer rule has been in place for six years and altering or eliminating it, “particularly just weeks ahead of an upcoming election, threatens to disrupt election administration at polling sites, both by changing a longstanding rule at the last minute, but also by permitting a greater number of partisan observers to cycle through polling sites.”