Democrats won major concessions on Tuesday from state election authorities in North Carolina, who agreed to their demands to relax the rules on mail-in ballots.
In an agreement filed with the courts in North Carolina, the plaintiffs — a coalition of Democrat-aligned interest groups — agreed to settle their lawsuit against the state in return for allowing ballots to be counted up to nine days after Election Day; allowing voters to “cure” problems with submitted ballots; and creating ballot “drop-off” stations.
The motion for a consent decree states (citations included):
As set forth in the Consent Judgment and in the exhibits thereto, (Numbered Memos 2020-19, 2020-22, and 2020-23), all ballots postmarked by Election Day shall be counted if otherwise eligible and received up to nine days after Election Day, pursuant to Numbered Memo 2020-22. Numbered Memo 2020-19 implements a procedure to cure certain deficiencies with absentee ballots, including missing voter, witness, or assistant signatures and addresses. Finally, Numbered Memo 2020-23 instructs county boards to designate separate absentee ballot drop-off stations at all one-stop early voting locations and county board offices, through which voters and authorized persons may return absentee ballots in person.
Several other recent cases that were otherwise favorable to Democrats specifically rejected a special “cure” process, including the most recent judgment in a federal court in Wisconsin.
The North Carolina “cure” process will allow voters to re-submit ballots after Election Day. It is described as follows in the consent decree*:
For the 2020 elections, Executive Defendants shall institute a process to cure deficiencies that may be cured with a certification from the voter in accordance with the procedures set forth in Numbered Memo 2020-19 (attached as Exhibit B). Curable deficiencies include: no voter signature, misplaced voter signature, no witness or assistant name, no witness or assistant address, no witness or assistant signature, and misplaced witness or assistant signature. If a county board office receives a container-return envelope with such a curable deficiency, it shall contact the voter in writing by mail and, if available, email, within one business day of identifying the deficiency, informing the voter that there is an issue with their absentee ballot and enclosing a cure certification. The written notice shall be sent to the address to which the voter requested their ballot be sent. The cure certification must be received by the county board of elections by no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2020, the day before county canvass. The cure certification may be submitted to the county board office by fax, email, in person, or by mail or commercial carrier.
The consent decree also appears to allow “ballot harvesting” by third parties, requiring only that they provide an address and phone number when they return someone else’s ballot.
Democrat lawyer Marc Elias celebrated the outcome on Twitter as a “victory”:
🚨BREAKING: North Carolina agrees via guidance/ consent decree:
✅Count ballots postmarked by E-Day/received by 11/12.
✅Adopt a cure process for rejected absentees
✅Establish VBM drop-off stations
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) September 22, 2020
Elias was recently described by the New Republic as the man who is trying to stop President Donald Trump from “rigging” the election.
However, Elias was also responsible for hiring Fusion GPS to produce the bogus “Russia dossier” on then-candidate Trump, leading to efforts by the law enforcement and intelligence services to spy on the Trump campaign.
The consent decree is binding on North Carolina’s board of election and its Democrat chair, Damon Circosta, who was appointed by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper.
The National Redistricting Foundation, chaired by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder, was involved in the lawsuit.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
* The previous “cure” process apparently had to be completed before Election Day, according to the State Board of Elections: “County boards of elections will contact voters when there are deficiencies with their absentee ballot. You should provide your phone number or email address on the request form in case the county board needs to contact you. The State Board encourages voters to carefully read and follow the instructions that come with the ballot. The State Board also encourages voters to request and return their absentee ballot as early as possible to ensure time remains to correct any issues. If an issue arises and the voter is unable to successfully cast an absentee ballot, that voter may still vote during the in-person early voting period or on Election Day.”