MORRISVILLE, N.C. (10/15/2020) — North Carolina voters will now have greater clarity surrounding the mail-in ballot process, specifically on how to correct mistakes on their ballot envelope. Following a ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Judge William L. Osteen upheld a previous preliminary injunction he issued in August in Democracy North Carolina et al v. North Carolina Board of Elections et al requiring county boards of elections to notify voters of possible issues with mail-in ballot envelopes and provide voters an opportunity to fix mistakes.
The plaintiffs in the case, including voting rights group Democracy North Carolina, represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Fair Elections Center, and pro bono counsel from law firm WilmerHale, asked Judge Osteen to enforce the injunction following unclear guidance from the North Carolina State Board of Elections on the notification and remedy process, known as “curing.”
Democracy North Carolina’s Executive Director Tomas Lopez called the ruling a preservation of the organization’s earlier legal victory, “As record numbers of North Carolina voters continue to take advantage of voting by mail for the first time, we know that hundreds have already had their ballots cured by a process secured by our lawsuit this summer,” said Lopez. “Today’s holding preserves this legal victory and allows for consistent absentee cure administration across North Carolina’s 100 counties, providing absentee voters with the assurances they need to trust their votes cast will be counted and any deficiencies can be resolved efficiently.”