Trump Campaign, RNC Sue North Carolina For Change In Absentee Ballot Rules That Ditch Witness Signature Requirement

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The Donald J. Trump For Reelection Campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) sued Saturday the state of North Carolina to block a rule that would allow absentee ballots to be cast without proper witness verification.

The North Carolina elections board, controlled by Democrats, issued guidance Tuesday that allows mail-in ballots partially filled out to be fixed without the voter having to restart the process, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Absentee voters who submit ballots missing information regarding witnesses will not have to fill out a new ballot or locate another witness. Instead, the voter will just need to fill out an affidavit confirming they filled out the original ballot.

Further, the lawsuit accused the board of overriding state law by allowing ballots postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted if they’re received within nine days of the election instead of the three days required by current law. (RELATED: Mail Voting Begins As North Carolina Sends Out Absentee Ballots)

“While touted as allowing greater access to voters during the current pandemic–an objective already addressed in recent months by the General Assembly – the actual effect is to undermine protections that help ensure the upcoming election will be not only safe and accessible but secure, fair, and credible,” the suit says, according to the AP.

An absentee ballot election worker consolidates a large stack of absentee ballot applications at the Mecklenburg Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4, 2020. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

Republican North Carolina Lt. Gov. Daniel Forest issued a statement Sept. 24 calling on Attorney General William Barr to investigate the rule changes.

“They [election board and Democratic North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein] have effectively gutted provisions that ensure a quick resolution of the election, witness requirements for absentee ballots, and the requirement that the in-person drop-off of absentee ballots be by the voter or the voter’s near relative.”

“The fact that an executive agency would dare enter into an agreement that attempts to make substantial changes to our election law less than six weeks before the election raises serious concerns about the motives of all involved,” the statement read. “It also raises serious legal concerns.”

One of two Republicans on the board, David Black, resigned from his position Sept. 23 and said in a statement that the “recent decisions have made it untenable for me to remain as member [of the board]” and that was “taken aback” by the new rule that said voters just needed to fill out an affidavit if they’re missing the witness requirement.