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The State of Reform
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Absentee voting fight pressed anew in three Southern states

Thanks to the pandemic and the coming surge of absentee voting, several swing states have already been compelled to grant extra time for ballots to arrive by mail. North Carolina joined this roster Tuesday.

To settle one from the blizzard of lawsuits pushed by Democrats, the state not only extended that deadline on Tuesday but also agreed to allow voters a chance to correct procedural mistakes with their absentee ballots.

The double-barrel agreement came as a fresh federal lawsuit was seeking to make Arkansas give its voters a similar "ballot curing" option, while Republicans appealed a federal judge's extension for mailed ballots in Georgia.

As the record wave of litigation continues to roil preparations six weeks from Election Day, these are the details of the latest developments:

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Rep. James Clyburn, along with other Democrats on the House subcommittee, led an investigation into election preparedness in four states.

Hill Democrats focus voting concerns on four big battlegrounds

Congressional Democrats this week moved to focus heightened concern about election preparedness on four of the biggest battlegrounds: Texas, Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin.

The majority of a special House committee, created this spring to oversee the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, issued a report Wednesday focusing their apprehension on the limits of mail-in voting, poll worker shortages and safety of polling places in those states — with a combined 93 electoral votes central to the campaign strategies of both President Trump and Joe Biden.

The report by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which no Republicans signed, urged the states to spend quickly and generously to fix the problems — something they are unlikely to be able to do without a cash infusion from Congress itself, which looks less likely every day.

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Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger cited evidence of double voting in most counties but said the discovery had not changed any outcomes.

Year's biggest election fraud case: Georgia suspects 1,000 of double voting

One week after President Trump urged voters to test the integrity of the election system by trying to cast two ballots this fall, by mail and in person, Georgia has started probing whether 1,000 people committed felonies this summer by succeeding in doing precisely that.

The announcement Tuesday, by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, launches by far the biggest investigation this year into potential voting fraud, which Trump baselessly maintains is rampant and threatens to invalidate the result of a presidential contest reliant on absentee ballots as never before.

Raffensberger said he has found almost no evidence of people out to scam the system, however. And he conceded that, during one of the year's most chaotic primaries, many may have been so skeptical about the fate of their ballot envelope that they headed to a polling place as a failsafe.

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As many as 2.5 million Georgians may vote by mail this fall.

Battleground Georgia latest focus of fight over delayed ballots

Georgia has decided to fight a federal court ruling that ballots postmarked by Election Day must be counted even if they're delayed in the mail as long as three days.

A final decision on the appeal, assuming it comes by the election in eight weeks, will determine the fate of tens of thousands of votes — which could be decisive in a collection of high-profile close races, starting with the tossup contest for Georgia's potentially decisive 16 electoral votes.

The state is among 33, including half a dozen other presidential battlegrounds, where mailed ballots are normally valid only if they arrive to be counted by the time the polls close. But a week ago Judge Eleanor Ross of Atlanta sided with voting rights groups that argue those laws, if applied during a pandemic where a surge in remote voting is sure to put extraordinary strain on the Postal Service, will unconstitutionally disenfranchise a small but pivotal bloc of the national electorate.

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