News: Quick Takes

National election-integrity group backs N.C. legislators in Supreme Court case

A Houston-based group that focuses on election integrity is throwing its support to N.C. legislators in a dispute before the U.S. Supreme Court.

True the Vote filed paperwork Friday to submit a friend-of-the-court brief in Wise v. Circosta, one of two cases submitted by emergency appeal to U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts.

“To date, there have been 411 COVID-19-related, election-law cases” nationwide, according to True the Vote’s brief. “This chaotic flood arises primarily from failure to follow the mandate that only legislatures have the authority and expertise to ‘prescribe’ the ‘Manner’ of elections involving federal candidates. By providing guidance in this case, … this chaotic flood of litigation can be abated and order and the rule of law restored to our elections.”

In the two N.C. cases, Republican state legislative leaders, President Trump’s re-election campaign, the Republican National Committee, and individual voters seek to block election rules that contradict state election law.

The major issue involves whether election officials will count mailed-in absentee ballots that arrive between Nov. 7 and Nov. 12. State law specifies that officials should count no ballots received after Nov. 6, the Friday after Election Day. The extension of that deadline to Nov. 12 stems from a controversial legal settlement in state court involving the Democrat-dominated state elections board, the Democratic state attorney general, and plaintiffs working with national Democratic election attorney Marc Elias.

Republican plaintiffs seek to block the extended deadline. They say the elections board had no legal authority to change state law to enable that extension.

The unauthorized attempt to rewrite state election law attracted True the Vote’s attention.

“[T]his case presents a unique opportunity to abate the chaotic flood of near-election litigation inundating this Court and our Republic,” according to the group’s legal filing. “In doing so, [we] suggest that this Court take the opportunity to provide guidance regarding the flawed constitutional analysis employed by lower courts struggling to deal with a flood of current and future near-election changes in election laws by state officials and courts.”

“[T]his litigation flood will continue to overwhelm the courts if this Court doesn’t reaffirm that only legislatures have the authority and expertise to balance election access with election-integrity concerns, such as ballot fraud and a sudden flood of mailed ballots,” True the Vote’s argument continued.

Taking action in the case “will reassert what the Constitution requires, abate the litigation flood, and restore confidence in elections,” according to the filing.

“No election official should have the power to change election rules and procedures on a whim, yet such actions are occurring all across the country,” True the Vote argued. “Many are blatant violations of election code at worst and at best, misguided, last-minute changes that are leading to widespread confusion among voters.”