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Our panel of experts will be analyzing voting controversies until the 2020 winners are clear.

Native American Voting Rights

Organizers: Idaho Law Review and the McClure Center for Public Policy Research

This is part of the "Democracy Evolved: The Future of American Elections" event series. In 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified, formally prohibiting vote denial on the basis of race. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting vote denial on the basis of sex. In the 1960s, the Supreme Court established the one-person-one-vote principle and Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act. In 2000, the Supreme Court decided the presidential election in Bush v. Gore. In 2016, the country experienced one of the most controversial and polarizing elections in modern history. On the eve of the 2020 election, we examine American democracy and ask: Where are we now, and where might we be — in four years, 20 years, 50 years, 100 years or even 150 years from now?

Location: Webinar

Big Picture

New Mexico: How one state's story reflects the long, strange journey toward the election

Usually, the results of a presidential election provide the main drama. Usually, it is not the story of how Americans are going to vote that's packed with twists, conflicts, and a constant litany of first evers and never befores.

Of course, almost nothing about 2020 has been usual. In fact, it may be the most historically significant year leading up to a national election in memory. So the fighting over how to hold a comprehensive, safe and reliable election has often been tough to follow in the shadows of impeachment, pandemic and economic calamity.

There are five weeks to go. But the path traveled so far — by good-government activists, election officials, security watchdogs, political leaders, legions of attorneys and regular citizens — becomes clear through the lens of a single state. We've chosen New Mexico. It's more rural, poor, politically blue and demographically brown than the nation. But its election experience this year nicely reflects the calamity the country's already gone through, even before the fight over the actual count begins.

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Navajo Nation voters are asking Arizona election officials to count absentee ballots that arrive up to 10 days after Election Day.

Navajo Nation voters sue over Arizona's absentee ballot deadline

Six Navajo Nation citizens have asked a federal court for relief from an Arizona law that requires absentee ballots to arrive by Election Day in order to be counted.

The group filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, requesting more time for absentee ballots to arrive in the mail as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3. The suit argues Arizona's strict deadline disenfranchises voters who live on reservations where mail service is slower and less reliable.

Given the anticipated vote-by-mail surge this fall, the Postal Service has advised voters to mail their ballots as early as possible to ensure they arrive in time to be counted. Thirty-three states, including Arizona, have laws against counting mail ballots that arrive after Election Day.

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The vote-by-mail bill also expands ballot harvesting, which proponents say is critical to boosting turnout in Nevada's poor, rural communities.

Nevada moves to send mail ballots to all; Trump threatens to sue to stop that

President Trump on Monday threatened to sue to stop Nevada from delivering absentee ballots to all active voters, just hours after the Legislature voted to conduct the state's presidential election mainly by mail because of the coronavirus.

Solidly blue California and Vermont have made similar decisions this summer, joining five states that were going to be almost wholly vote-by-mail before the pandemic.

Nevada becomes the first somewhat purple place on the roster, however, and the president asserted without evidence the switch will make it impossible for him to carry its six electoral votes. It was the latest of at least six dozen statements he's made seeking to rattle confidence in the democratic process by asserting mailed ballots will magnify fraud and minimize GOP electoral strength.

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