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Fight over money vs. ballot access imperils Minnesota’s record for top turnout

Election security and voting rights are on a collision course in the state with the nation's best voter turnout.

The Minnesota Legislature opened its session a week ago with another sharp disagreement over the millions available from Washington to modernize voting systems and election administration to strengthen defenses against election hacking and the spread of disinformation.

The Democrats who run the House want to allocate the latest $4.7 million installment as soon as possible and with no strings attached. The Republicans who run the Senate say they won't accept the money unless it's paired with a new and strict system of provisional balloting.

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Scott Olson/ Getty Images

The suit challenges state-imposed limits on how much help people are allowed to give to disabled voters, including the visually impaired and people who do not speak English.

Second suit challenges limits on helping others vote in Minnesota

Four Hmong-Americans are challenging Minnesota's restrictions on who may assist voters in casting their ballots.

It is the second lawsuit this year claiming state law discriminates against disabled and non-English-speaking voters who need the help of others when they vote. Three weeks ago the Democratic Party's House and Senate campaign committees brought a similar claim. Both were filed in state court in St. Paul.

The claims are part of a surge in varied litigation by progressive groups and Democratic operatives seeking to win advances in voting rights via the courts in advance of Election Day. Most suits are being filed in presidential or congressional battleground states where the legislatures are not inclined to ease access to the ballot box.

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Re-District For Us Rally

Organizer: RepresentUs

After the 2020 Census, Minnesota will draw district boundaries, reshaping the state districts for elections for the next 10 years! The current process is controlled by the majority, in secret, and allows the majorityparty to choose its voters, instead of voters choosing their representatives. Our senators and representatives are there to represent us, but corruption and Gerrymandered district boundaries mean they do not have to listen to the people in their district. Is that the kind of house you want to live in? Not us!We need to help our legislators RepresentUs, by ending corruption in the government. Drawing fair maps with voter focused redistricting reform is an important step in that process. Show your support by contacting your legislators. Let them know that if they want your votes, they need to work with the Minnesota Alliance for Democracy to end Gerrymandering.

Speakers will be Dr. Richard Painter from University of Minnesota and former Minnesota Supreme Court Judge Lew Black.

Location: Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., St. Paul, MN

The 13 states where election security matters most

Along with the candidates and the issues, the 2020 presidential election is also going to be about the voting process itself.

Russian efforts to hack into the voting systems of 2016 have boosted election security to a critical concern this time, prompting states to spend tens of millions buying new equipment, hiring cybersecurity wizards and installing software that warns of intrusions — among numerous other steps. More purchases of hardware, software and expertise are coming in the months ahead.

Whether enough money gets spent, and wisely, won't be known for sure until Nov. 3, 2020 — when the system will be subject to the one test that really matters. And whether the country decides the presidential election result is trustworthy will likely come down to how reliably things work in the relatively small number of states both nominees are contesting.

[Swing states build 2020 hacking protections: Will they hold?]

With 11 months to go, The Fulcrum reviewed information from state elections officials, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Election Assistance Commission and news reports to get a sense of the election security landscape. Here's the state of play in the 13 states likeliest to be presidential battlegrounds.

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