On Thursday a Wake County Superior Court judge ruled that the North Carolina State Board of Elections may keep the November 14 absentee ballot deadline it previously set but placed a temporary hold on a rule that at-large election observers must serve a four-hour minimum shift. Republicans had pushed to move the absentee ballot deadline to November 11 and to allow at-large election observers, who are allowed to move from site to site, to be replaced more frequently. Republican groups celebrated the elimination of the rule, saying that it would have prevented them from subbing out regular observers with lawyers sent to investigate potential problems. The State Board of Elections had imposed the rule after finding that election observers during May primaries had often come and gone without permission from poll officials and had behaved in inappropriate and sometimes aggressive ways.
On October 7 Governor Cooper spoke in support of President Biden’s decision to pardon thousands with convictions for simple possession of marijuana under federal law and asked state lawyers to investigate pathways toward pardoning those with such convictions under state law. In his remarks Cooper emphasized the significant harm such a conviction can have on someone’s life. In 2020 Cooper appointed the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, which subsequently found that drug arrests disproportionately affect people of color.