The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Wednesday to take up a challenge to North Carolina's decision to allow absentee ballots to be received and counted as late as nine days after voters head to the polls on Nov. 3.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch said they would have granted the application for injunctive relief against the decision, which was made by the state Board of Elections. Newly-confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not take part in the decision.
The state's extension moved the deadline for absentee ballots from three days after the election to nine, or 5 p.m. on Nov. 12.
The state's attorney general, Josh Stein, hailed the Court's decision in a tweet Wednesday evening.
"A HUGE win tonight for NC voters at SCOTUS, which upheld the State Board of Elections’ effort to ensure that every eligible vote counts, even in a pandemic," he said.
"Voters must postmark their ballots by Election Day but now have certainty their vote will be counted. Let's vote!"
Republican legislators reportedly accused the elections board of attempting to usurp their authority with the extension.
"Immediate relief is required to ensure that this unconstitutional usurpation of power and 'changing the rules of the game in the middle of an election' is not allowed to stand ... and to avoid the specter of a post-election dispute over the validity of ballots received during the disputed period in North Carolina," the injunction request read.
Wednesday's decision came after a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled last week that the extension could stand.
“All ballots must still be mailed on or before Election Day,” the ruling stated, according to the News & Observer. “The change is simply an extension from three to nine days after Election Day for a timely ballot to be received and counted."
The high court similarly blocked a Republican request to expedite a decision on blocking vote counting after Nov. 3 in Pennsylvania. Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C., will allow ballots to be counted after Election Day as long as they are postmarked on time.
Fox News' Bill Mears, Shannon Bream, Morgan Phillips, Evie Fordham, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.