North Carolina’s state elections board settled a deeply partisan battle over this fall’s election rules on Thursday, largely rejecting a Republican-led effort to write local voting guidelines that would limit Democratic turnout in a political battleground state. The board’s decisions could influence the course of voting in a state where races for governor and United States senator are close, and where the two major presidential candidates are said to be dead even. After meeting for more than 11 hours, the Republican-controlled board imposed new election plans that expanded voting hours or added polling places — or sometimes both — in 33 of the state’s 100 counties. In the vast bulk of the counties, the sole Democratic member on the three-person election board was contesting voting rules that the Republican majority had approved.
The expansion of sites and hours was not uniform. In seven counties, the board approved on party-line votes more restrictive voting plans that local Republicans had devised over Democratic objections.
The state board’s actions were among a spate of decisions this week affecting voters in the general election. In Washington, a federal appeals court overruled a lower court on Friday, blocking Kansas, Georgia and Alabama from demanding proof of citizenship from residents registering to vote in federal elections. The ruling lifts the citizenship requirement until the ongoing lawsuit over it is decided.