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The State of Reform
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Most voters in North Carolina, like these in Durham in 2016, will vote by mail this fall and a judge on Tuesday made the process slightly easier.

Judge rules N.C. voters must be given a chance to fix absentee ballots

Voting rights advocates have won a singular victory in their multifaceted lawsuit to force more permissive voting regulations in battleground North Carolina this fall.

People whose absentee ballots get rejected must be notified and given a chance to challenge the disqualification and correct any mistakes, federal Judge William Osteen ruled Tuesday. But he also concluded that fears the coronavirus will sicken voters at the polls, or depress turnout, are not enough to make him order more widespread easements in the state's election laws.

His decision, which would be tough to successfully appeal in the three months before Election Day, gives some clarity on the election rules in one of the most politically pivotal states — where the battles for its 15 electoral votes as well as a Senate seat both look like tossups.

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Michigan, which held its presidential primary in March, is expecting a surge in mail-in ballots in November.

Suit to ease Michigan voting dies, but new ones born in three other states

Michigan's top court has decided not to weigh in on one of the emerging big issues of the November election: whether absentee ballots delayed in the mail should still count.

The state Supreme Court decision means that Michigan, like most of the presidential battlegrounds and 33 states altogether, will only open and tabulate envelopes that have landed at election offices by the time polls close on Election Day. As a result, the franchise may be denied to millions nationwide unless the beleaguered Postal Service is able to keep up with the coming torrent of mailed-in ballots.

Friday's decision was part of the latest flurry of legal developments over voting rights — including a lawsuit, similar to the one in Michigan, to make Indiana count late-arriving ballots, along with two fresh suits to relax absentee voting rules in Ohio and a bid to force South Carolina to make elections safer for people vulnerable to the coronavirus.

These are the details:

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'Suppressed: The Fight to Vote' Film Screening & Panel Discussion

Organizers: Fix Democracy First and League of Women Voters of Atlantic County, New Jersey

Join a free virtual film screening and panel discussion of "Suppressed: The Fight to Vote," a documentary by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films, who will be joining us to introduce the film. The film weaves together personal stories from voters across the state of Georgia to paint an undeniable picture of voter suppression in the 2018 midterm election where Stacey Abrams fought to become the first Black female governor in the U.S. Guest panelists will include: Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia; Nancy Hedinger, President of LWVNJ; and other representatives from the LWVNJ. View the trailer.

Location: Webinar

Elaine Cromie/Getty Images

Primary voting in Michigan in March, before the coronavirus surge. Now the state is expecting a big increase of mail voting.

Election Day deadline for absentee ballots in Michigan upheld

Michigan's Court of Appeals has rejected a voting rights group's bid to make the battleground state count absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day.

The decision upholds a state law, similar to those on the books in 33 other states, that says only envelopes that are in the local clerk's office by the time the polls close will be tabulated.

The 2-1 ruling Wednesday came in a lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters. The group said it would appeal to the state Supreme Court, setting up the likelihood the rule will be either relaxed or solidified by November — when the counting of a surge of mailed ballots arriving at close to the last minute could decide the allocation of 16 electoral votes.

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