NC Capitol

NC Capitol

Federal appeals court rejects request by NC voters to expand early voting in 5 counties

Posted October 19, 2016 11:21 a.m. EDT
Updated October 19, 2016 6:39 p.m. EDT

SBE Chairman Grant Whitney listens to a witness during a marathon meeting on Sept. 8, 2016.

— A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a request by North Carolina voters to expand early voting hours and locations in five counties.

The federal ruling comes three weeks after plaintiffs asked to expand early voting in Nash, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg and New Hanover counties. The same plaintiffs previously persuaded the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to nix large swaths of the state's 2013 voting law.

The 4th Circuit ruled this summer that much of North Carolina's voting law, including a portion that limited in-person early voting to 10 days, unconstitutionally limited voting options for minority voters. As a result, county boards of election across the state had to create 17-day early voting plans in August.

Lawyers representing the League of Women Voters filed the now-rejected motion in early October, saying plans approved by the State Board of Elections or unanimously approved by local boards skirted the intent of the 4th Circuit's earlier order.

Early voting begins on Thursday.