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A legal fight over the fate of thousands of names on Wisconsin's rolls is now likely to linger beyond November. Here, Milwaukeeans waiting to vote in the Covid-troubled April primary.

One Midwest win for each side in the voter purge wars

The partisan fight over how to maintain voter registration lists has delivered one victory for each side this week — both in Midwestern states central to the November election.

The top court in Wisconsin decided against fast-tracking a decision about removing from the rolls more than 100,000 people with potentially out of date registrations — a delay that benefits the cause of voting rights advocates. But in neighboring Michigan, a conservative group claimed victory and dropped its lawsuit against Detroit after the city took a group of dead people and duplicate names off the rolls.

The cases capture a debate that pitches those (mostly Democrats) who believe aggressive attempts to remove, or "purge," names from voter rolls are an attempt at voter suppression against those (mostly Republicans) who believe poorly maintained voter lists clogged with the names of the mortally or physically departed provide an opportunity for fraud.

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Poll workers count mail-in ballots during the March primary election in Tallahassee, Fl. More than 18,000 mail-in ballots were not counted in the Florida primary, new research has found.

Small but significant number of mail-in ballots uncounted in Florida

More than 18,000 ballots were mailed in but not tabulated in Florida's presidential primary, researchers have found. And the envelopes returned by young, first-time and Black voters were the most likely not to get counted.

The number of uncounted absentee ballots is one component of an analysis of the March 17 primary published last week by the Healthy Elections Project, created by experts at Stanford and MIT.

While the number of uncounted mail ballots is a tiny fraction — 1.3 percent — of the total number of mail-in ballots in the primary, it nonetheless represents a significant number of voters in a state renowned for its razor-thin election results.

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Efforts to expand mailed-in voting has spread through courtrooms and state legislatures. Advocates for expanding voting suffered three defeats recently.

Voting rights advocates suffer three losses

After a string of recent successes, advocates for improving the fairness of elections and expanding access to voting amid the coronavirus pandemic have suffered three defeats in recent days.

The setbacks came in Texas, Arizona and Iowa — all states where the Democrats believe they can score big upsets, at the presidential and congressional levels, if the voting rules are easeds enough to allow significant turnout this fall — no matter the state of the coronavirus pandemic.

The way elections are conducted has been the subject of several dozen lawsuits in state and federal courts as well as battles in numerous state legislatures. Who wins the bulk of them could shape not only President Trump's chances of reelection but also whether the Senate stays in Republican hands or turns Democratic.

The recent decisions are:

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Three years after being nominated to the FEC, Republican Trey Trainor was finally confirmed by the Senate last month.

FEC begins new chapter with Trainor at the helm

The Federal Election Commission is back in business with a restored quorum and Republican Trey Trainor at the helm. Now all it needs is unanimity among its partisan commissioners.

Trainor was named chairman during the agency's public meeting on Thursday — its first since August 2019. Each commissioner is only intended to serve as chairman once during their six-year term, and since the other three members have already done so multiple times, the role went to Trainor.

His addition to the agency has not been without criticism. Since Trainor was first nominated to the FEC by President Trump in 2017, Democrats and good-government groups have been opposed to his confirmation due to his deregulatory approach to campaign finance laws.

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