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Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of 10 Republican Senators targeted in a series of ads from a conservative group supporting efforts to ease voting in November.

Conservative group's new TV ads press 10 key GOP senators to pay for vote-by-mail

The most prominent conservative group pushing to overhaul election procedures during the coronavirus pandemic has expanded and refocused its campaign.

The targets of a new, $750,000 advertising blitz are 10 GOP senators. The group controls the fate of a proposed infusion of cash to pay for diversified voting options this year, mainly by accommodating an expected surge of absentee balloting.

Republicans for the Rule of Law has purchased three weeks of airtime on Fox News affiliates in their states and on Facebook, starting Wednesday, urging them by name to support funding in the next economic stimulus package.

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Four of the GOP senators in states that were surveyed posed with their class at the Capitol soon after the 2012 election: Cory Gardner (blue tie), Joni Ernst (red jacket,) Thom Tillis (second from right) and Steve Daines (right).

Voters in Senate battlegrounds back early voting, adding pressure on GOP

Bipartisan majorities want more options for voting this year, and will be angry at members of Congress who oppose expanded absentee and early balloting in all six states where Republican senators are struggling hardest for re-election.

That was the top take-away of a survey released Thursday, the latest piece of an expanding campaign by good-government groups to pressure Congress to finance preparations for a vote-by-mail surge this fall because of the coronavirus.

House Democrats next week are expected to pass another pandemic response package, focused on aid to cities and states, with $4 billion in grants for making the election smoother and safer: more ballots, postage, counting equipment and even sanitizing supplies for polling places. The fate of the aid rests with the Senate, where resistance from majority Republicans has hardened in part because of President Trump's opposition.

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Courts grant signature-gathering relief for politicians, not ballot measures

When it comes to changing the rules for gathering signatures to get on the ballot during the coronavirus crisis, some states have been more lenient than others.

In Massachusetts, a state court has loosened signature requirements for politicians this year, given the national health concerns. But a federal court in Arizona did not consider doing the same for ballot measure campaigns.

Two Arizona campaigns sought permission to gather signatures electronically rather than in person because of Covid-19. But a federal judge on Friday dismissed their request and called their argument questionable.

Meanwhile, candidates in Massachusetts will have an easier time qualifying for the ballot this year after the state's highest court ruled that the unprecedented circumstances called for some adjustment to the requirements.

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Maricopa County, Ariz., saw voter turnout increase by 42 percent from 2014 to 2018, thanks at least in part to reforms put in place by the elections chief, Adrian Fontes.

Why local election administrators are key to ensuring all voters may participate in democracy

Fontes, a Democrat, was first elected in 2016 as the Maricopa County recorder, the chief elections official for Arizona's most populous county.

Due to the coronavirus, many states that have held their presidential primaries on schedule this year experienced a decrease in turnout, chaos and confusion. As we know, the integrity and inclusiveness of our elections depends on a well-run election system — which is exactly why Maricopa County saw an increase in turnout when Arizonans cast their ballots three weeks ago.

On every Election Day, Americans eagerly tune into the news the moment the polls close, expecting decisive conclusions about the future of their country. But these flashy headlines don't often capture the rubber-meets-road work of democracy unfolding on the ground: the science of election administration.

As the head election official for Phoenix and its closest suburbs, I know this better than most. Reading the news makes elections seem simple. However, in a nation as huge and diverse as ours, administering these contests is incredibly complicated. And as we've seen so far this year — from the long Super Tuesday voting lines in Texas and California to the muddled caucus results in Iowa — each jurisdiction faces unique challenges.

That's where election administrators come in.

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