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Legal decisions issued over the past few days significant impact voting by mail in a half-dozen states.

More court rulings in favor of a complete (if not quick) election

This month's flurry of courthouse wins is continuing for advocates of a comprehensive and safe election. The most important decision out of six since Friday could prevent the presidential election winner from being declared until the middle of November.

Michigan absentee ballots must be counted so long as they arrive within two weeks of the election, a judge ruled Friday. If not reversed on appeal, the ruling means the tallying of potentially hundreds of thousands of votes won't be done until Nov. 17 in a state Donald Trump carried by a scant 11,000 votes last time — and with 16 electoral votes that remain a tossup again this time.

Judges also allowed easier absentee voting in the biggest county in Texas, relaxed a vote-by-mail restriction in South Carolina and tossed a lawsuit seeking to limit mail voting in Illinois. And the Postal Service agreed to destroy millions of its misleading voter mailings. The only bad news for voting rights groups came from the Supreme Court of Mississippi, which ruled people at high risk of severe Covid-19 complications don't have an automatic right to vote absentee.

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These are the latest developments:

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Mississippi is facing a lawsuit challenging its restrictive law governing who can vote by mail and who must go to the polls, like this 2018 voter in Ridgeland.

Lawsuit targets restrictive voting laws in Mississippi

A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court challenges the requirements governing voting by absentee ballot in Mississippi — among the most restrictive of any state.

The suit takes issue with the rule that people have an excuse in order to vote by mail, that absentee ballots must be notarized, and that the state has no provision for notifying people if an absentee ballot has been rejected so voters can fix the problem.

Mississippi is one of just seven states that requires an excuse for people to receive an absentee ballot for the November election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A majority of states already have "no excuse" absentee voting and several more are making an exception for the 2020 general election because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The 11 states that would face federal oversight under a new Voting Rights Act

A growing chorus of congressional Democrats are saying that enacting a new Voting Rights Act is the best way for Congress to honor John Lewis, the civil rights icon and veteran Atlanta congressman who died last week.

The Republicans running the Senate have signaled no interest in debating the bill, designed to revive the racial discrimination protections enshrined in the original 1965 landmark law. The Democratic House passed the measure in December, with Lewis wielding the gavel during the vote.

Many of his colleagues now say the measure should be dubbed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. There's talk of pushing it through the House a second time this summer, perhaps with election assistance aid to the states tacked on.

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Mississippi secretary of state

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson

Mississippi stands firm against mail voting, but will allow for mail delays

Correction: The story was updated July 20 to correct several errors in the original version.

Despite new tweaks at the margins of election law, Mississippi looks to remain near the top of the list of places where it will be most difficult to vote this year.

Just ask the top election official, Secretary of State Michael Watson. A Republican like almost everyone in power in the state, he had asked lawmakers in Jackson to allow all Mississippians to vote early and in person because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Legislature rebuffed his modest proposal, which would have done nothing to ease the rules for voting by mail, instead passing a bill making the state's already strict excuse requirements even more exacting.

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