The state has now missed two deadlines to begin the process of printing absentee ballots for November’s election, as courts consider how to deal with congressional boundaries and constitutional amendments.
The North Carolina Board of Elections says it takes about three weeks to print absentee ballots. By state law, they must be available by this Friday. Federal law requires they be ready 45 days before the election, which would fall on September 22.
A three-judge state panel on Friday sided with Republican legislative leaders against Gov. Roy Cooper. Given the new amendments, the panel was "unable to find beyond a reasonable doubt" that the ballot language was unconstitutional. Cooper’s office said it will appeal to the state Supreme Court.
According to the Raleigh News and Observer, the court said late Friday briefs were due within 48 hours and that it could make the final decision without hearing oral arguments.
A panel of judges is also deciding when the state’s congressional boundaries must be redrawn after finding them to be an unconstitutional gerrymander. Plaintiffs agreed with legislative leaders on Friday that it would be too disruptive to redraw them right away and called for the congressional election to go on as planned Nov. 6. The panel had brought up the possibility of holding a primary in November and delaying the general election for congressional seats until December or early January.