Federal judge questions North Carolina absentee rule change

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Mail in absentee ballot (Photo: US Air Force)

(AP) — A federal judge says a North Carolina elections board directive making it easier for voters to fix witness deficiencies in absentee ballots may violate a previous ruling he made.

Federal Judge William Osteen, who presided over one of multiple lawsuits over absentee ballots, asked lawyers for the North Carolina State Board of Elections to schedule a status conference “at the earliest possible date and time” to explain to him recent changes to absentee ballot rules announced last week.

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The elections board’s new directive allows voters who cast mail-in ballots with incomplete witness information to fix the problem by returning an affidavit, rather than starting the ballot over from scratch.