Judge says absentee ballots in North Carolina must have witness signatures

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • A federal judge has ruled that absentee ballots must have witness signatures.
  • The ruling is a boost for Republicans in North Carolina.
  • The US presidential elections is on 3 November.


A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that absentee ballots in the presidential battleground state of North Carolina must have a witness signature, a boost for Republican groups seeking to enforce stricter rules on mail-in voting.

US ELECTIONS 2020 | Follow all the latest news

US District Judge William Osteen in Greensboro issued an injunction essentially barring voters from being able to "fix" an absentee ballot they had already sent in if it lacked a third-party signature attesting that the voter, and not somebody else, signed the ballot.

The judge was reversing a previous directive by state officials that had allowed voters to remedy the lack of a witness signature by returning an affidavit verifying that it was their ballot.

Republican state Senator Phil Berger said in a statement: "Judge Osteen was right to stop the... elimination of the absentee ballot witness requirement."

READ | Donald Trump blasts Facebook, Twitter for censoring article critical of Biden

In his written ruling, the judge allowed voters to fix smaller problems with their ballots, for example if a witness signature was in the wrong place.

The 3 November election promises to be the nation’s largest test of voting by mail due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and Democrats and Republicans are locked in numerous lawsuits that will shape how millions of Americans vote this year.

North Carolina, which Republican President Donald Trump won by just 3.6 percentage points in 2016, is one of the most hotly contested battlegrounds in Trump's contest with Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Trump has repeatedly and without evidence said that an increase in mail-in ballots would lead to a surge in fraud, although Americans have long voted by mail.

The Trump campaign and other Republican groups have been seeking to get courts to place restrictions on mail-in voting, while Biden's team and Democrats have been fighting to remove obstacles to voting by mail.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Until the matric exams are over, my family is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Self-isolating to ensure we don't miss any exams
13% - 201 votes
Following Covid-19 safety protocols, but still going out like normal
54% - 821 votes
Business as usual, we're not worried about the virus
33% - 505 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.23
(+0.67)
ZAR/GBP
21.02
(+0.59)
ZAR/EUR
18.90
(+1.01)
ZAR/AUD
11.40
(+0.88)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.82)
Gold
1877.90
(+0.05)
Silver
23.62
(+0.11)
Platinum
844.50
(+0.39)
Brent Crude
37.86
(-0.84)
Palladium
2204.58
(+0.60)
All Share
51684.70
(-0.41)
Top 40
47472.92
(-0.22)
Financial 15
9459.76
(-3.04)
Industrial 25
73405.64
(+1.00)
Resource 10
47245.91
(-1.21)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo