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Add Kentucky to list of states being sued to expand voting access

Kentucky is the latest state to face a lawsuit asking for election law easement in the face of the coronavirus.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union are among those who sued Wednesday, but with a bit of a twist: They are out to reverse one of the very few state laws enacted since the pandemic began that was designed to make voting more difficult this year.

Still, the new suit is similar to dozens of others filed this year that seek to make battleground or red-leaning states relax their election regulations and expand voting by mail.

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Biden campaign creates a senior post for protecting voting rights

Joe Biden has created a new senior campaign position to focus on protecting the right to vote in an election remade by the coronavirus.

Rachana Desai Martin, a senior Democratic Party official, will be the national director for voter protection and senior counsel on the legal team, the presumptive nominee's campaign announced Tuesday.

It appears to be the first job of its kind in a modern-day major-party presidential campaign, but the circumstances are also nearly without precedent — the first national election in a century during a nationwide public health emergency. Martin will focus on ballot accessibility for all voters and combating the disenfranchisement of people of color.

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Absentee voting rights push yields a partial win — and three new suits

Advocates for easing restrictions on absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic have won a split decision in federal court in South Carolina.

A judge on Monday barred the state from requiring a witness signature on mail-in ballots for the congressional and legislative primaries in two weeks, but she said the state could require those ballots to arrive by the time the polls close.

The ruling was the most important news over the holiday weekend for the cause of easier voting this year, which also brought fresh lawsuits challenging a diverse set of rules in North Carolina, Michigan and New York. These are the latest developments:

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New bipartisan group pushes for safe and secure voting of all kinds

With millions of voters scared of coronavirus exposure, a surge of absentee ballots is coming in November even if the rules are not relaxed and more federal help is not delivered — a reality obscured by the intensifying partisan rhetoric over vote-by-mail's virtues and flaws.

And so a new group, VoteSafe, has been launched in hopes of lowering the volume and magnifying the needs of election administrators of both parties preparing for the first Election Day in a century during a nationwide public health emergency.

The organization, unveiled last week, has an A-list bipartisan pedigree and the backing of many prominent good-government groups — an alliance made possible because the group is pushing remote voting and use of polling places with equal force.

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GOP sues to stop California's plan for an all-by-mail general election

The most sweeping promotion of mail voting in the presidential election so far, California's plan to send an absentee ballot to every voter, must first overcome legal challenges from the Republican Party.

The GOP has sued to prevent the effort to conduct the November election almost entirely by mail in the nation's most populous state as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The lawsuit, filed Sunday in federal court, says Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom exceeded his authority this month by telling county election officials to send all 20.7 million registered Californians a ballot this fall.

His order would potentially double the number of Americans who are provided with absentee ballots automatically, without having to ask for them. That's now the practice across just five states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Hawaii — although state law already allows 14 smaller counties in California to hold elections entirely remotely.

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